The Eclipse is always one of the summer highlights and a super Saturday is in store for punters at Sandown. Racing Post tipster Graeme Rodway runs you through his best bets.
Ouzo @ 12/1
Lyrical Lady @ 33/1
Protagonist @ 8/1
Picual @ 11/4
The 1m handicap (2.25) is one of the most competitive races on the card and it's worth giving Ouzo another chance following a disappointing effort in the Buckingham Palace at Royal Ascot.
Ouzo didn't beat a single one of his 28 rivals there and trailed home 30 lengths behind the winner Inver Park. That was evidently too bad to be true and he is better judged on his previous form, which includes an excellent second over course and distance two starts ago.
The six-year-old was making his seasonal reappearance and having his first start for the Jamie Osborne stable that day and he pulled five and a half lengths clear of the third-placed Lyndon B. He lost by a neck in second to Rebel Territories, but ran a quicker last three furlongs than the winner.
That was only Ouzo's second run at this track and his previous outing at the course resulted in a victory in a 7f handicap. There is every chance he can return to his best back at Sandown.
Heredia will be a warm order for this mile Listed race (3.00) following her impressive victory in the Sandringham at Royal Ascot. She is the one to beat, but Lyrical Lady looked good when winning at Salisbury last time and makes each-way appeal against the red-hot favourite.
Lyrical Lady has progressed well this season and she recorded a big career best when successful last time. She was held up in rear early but made relentless late headway to score. going away by four lengths, and there were some wide margins between the runners behind her, with nearly five lengths back to the third and a further 12 lengths from third to fourth.
To put it plainly, she had them strung out behind her in the manner of a smart performer and Lyrical Lady would have been hard to beat in any handicap off her current mark of 78. The fact trainer Hughie Morrison is willing to blow that rating by running here is a tip in itself.
There is no hotter team in Britain right now than Tom Marquand and William Haggas and it looks worth taking a chance on Protagonist making a winning start for his new connections in the 1m2f handicap (4.10).
The five-year-old was trained in Ireland by Jessica Harrington last season and he produced his best effort over this 1m2f trip when coming from the rear to win at Fairyhouse in July.
Protagonist failed to register another win in four subsequent starts, but three of those runs came over 1m4f and the last was in a 2m hurdle. The return to 1m2f looks more suitable.
Sir Michael Stoute is famed for bringing his horses along slowly and Picual looked like a three-year-old going places when landing a 1m2f handicap at Nottingham three weeks ago.
She has gone up only 4lb for that victory and has a huge chance of following up in the 1m2f handicap (4.45) for Stoute and Ryan Moore, who has been at the top of his game this season.
Picual won by only a neck at Nottingham but she did an awful lot wrong. She was slowly away and hung left when under pressure but was well on top at the finish, winning cosily.
She is just the type of horse with whom her top trainer excels and there is more to come.
|When:||Saturday 2nd July, 1.50-5.20|
|How to watch:||Racing TV and bet365's Sports Live Streaming platform|