It is hard to ignore the claims of John Gosden’s twice raced Kings Shield @ 7/4. This half-brother to Great White Eagle has been spoken of as a French Guineas type so in theory, should have too much for this handicap company. That said he does have to contend with the widest draw and may find it hard to get a good position plus this is his first run on turf. The same applies to Lawn Ranger who was two and a quarter lengths behind Kings Shield last time but it is likely the seven pound pull won’t be enough to reverse fortunes though he should not be totally discounted @ 14/1. Merlin Magic found The Racing Post Trophy too hot but has some good form in maiden company, his penultimate effort at Nottingham looking especially interesting with impressive recent Windsor winner, Sevenna Star back in third. He should serve it up to the favourite @ 13/2. Vintager is talented but has a plenty of weight to carry first time out while Dream Warrior needs to improve significantly on his reappearance and it is questionable whether dropping back in trip is what he needs after keeping on one-paced at Lingfield.
It is hard to see past St Leger second Crystal Ocean @ 5/4 with Sir Michael Stoute’s four year old having a few pounds in hand of his rivals. Considering this race is run over ten furlongs, previous winners have been more staying types preferring twelve furlongs or further and Crystal Ocean fits that profile perfectly. Fabricate has had his problems but won well on his seasonal debut and is the likeliest to give the favourite most to think about @ 6/1 but wouldn’t want the ground to get too soft while Morando looks like he will be suited by the step up in trip an should go well @ 7/1. Almodovar and First Sitting are both capable of putting on a bold show at big prices if fit.
Chilean sets the standard @ 10/3 and proved his well being when taking a group three at Longchamp earlier this month and he needs soft to heavy ground so the forecast rain is definitely in his favour. Rain will also aide Sevenna Star’s fortunes who bids to follow up his runaway victory at Windsor last time. Visually it was impressive but the time was not and he still needs to improve to challenge Chilean. Hunting Horn @ 6/1 also represents potential after a cosy maiden win at Naas and this half-brother to the useful David Livingston should improve again, the form of his second to Hazapour last September reading well in the context of this race. Two at big prices that could go well are Jetstream @ 50/1 and Soveriegn Duke @ 33/1, the German side of his pedigree suggesting he will enjoy softer ground.
Sovereign Debt won this race last year and has to be respected @ 9/1. He was fully fit twelve months ago but having put in such a good performance in the Diomed Stakes at Epsom last June, that could well be the early season target though he has gone well fresh before. Surprise Sussex Stakes winner Here Comes When @ 6/1 sets the standard on ratings with the more rain the better for Andrew Balding’s eight year old. Whether he can reproduce the form of his Goodwood run again remains to be seen as he is not getting any younger. Lincoln winner Addeybb won in the fashion of a good horse, is open to more improvement and rightly heads the market @ 7/4 though this is a decent test for William Haggas’ son of Pivotal who does have a Lockinge entry. Stormy Antarctic won a slightly strange race in France last time but has to come into calculations @ 6/1 while Aljazzi progressed well last season, finding group one company too much in the Sun Chariot Stakes last October. She goes well fresh and could be the value @ 9/1.
ITV Races Betting Strategy:
1.50 Sandown – Merlin’s Magic – 1pt win @ 13/2
2.25 Sandown – Crystal Ocean / What About Carlo – 1pt straight forecast
3.00 Sandown – Hunting Horn – 1pt win @ 6/1
3.35 Sandown – Aljazzi – 1pt win @ 9/1
1pt win Treble:
Kings Shield – 1.50 Sandown
Crystal Ocean – 2.25 Sandown
Addeybb – 3.35 Sandown