Sandown's Eclipse meeting kicks into gear on Friday and Racing Post tipster Robbie Wilders provides his two best bets across an interesting seven-race card.
Calling The Wind
2.20 Sandown @ 6/1
4.05 Sandown @ 5/1
The Listed Coral Marathon (2.20) is wide-open and likely favourite Alerta Roja looks one to oppose on her seasonal return.
Alerta Roja's second to Stradivarius in last season's Doncaster Cup looks an anomaly in her profile and she has twice been defeated in Listed company at short prices in receipt of significant weight-for-age allowances.
She will need to have improved plenty over the winter to be a factor here first time out while Euchen Glen, the other standard setter on official ratings, is yet to convince over this two-mile trip. Age will eventually catch up with the old warrior as well.
It may instead be worth siding with Calling The Wind, who has threatened to land a decent prize for the last couple of years.
The versatile six-year-old boasts high-class form over 1m4f and stays two miles, but appeared to be stretched by 2m5½f in the Queen Alexandra Stakes at Royal Ascot last time having travelled best.
Stratum and Reshoun proved stronger stayers on the day and Calling The Wind faded into third, but will be seen to better effect over this distance and there is nothing wrong with his attitude.
Richard Hughes' horses are in good form and Calling The Wind can capture the biggest victory of his training career.
The Listed Davies Insurance Services Gala Stakes (4.05) revolves around Addeybb as he is rated at least 9lb ahead of his nearest rival, while it is logical to suggest he will improve for his return over this course and distance behind Bay Bridge in the Brigadier Gerard Stakes.
That was patently a better race than this and the fact he performed so well when third on ground quicker than ideal was creditable.
The form also looks decent with the winner and second filling the runner-up positions in the Prince of Wales's Stakes and Hardwicke Stakes next time.
However, it wouldn’t surprise if Addeybb was pulled out at the eleventh hour. There is a lack of forecast rain in the area and good to firm ground is a distinct possibility.
The top-class eight-year-old has twice been withdrawn on account of such conditions and ran way below form on good to firm the only time he encountered that going description a few years back.
Hopefully he runs as that will mean a bigger price about Regal Reality, who is taken to spring a minor surprise for Sir Michael Stoute under Ryan Moore.
Regal Reality loves quick ground and made some decent late headway to bag fourth in the Wolferton Stakes at Royal Ascot on his return. The run should bring him forward and this course-and-distance winner loves this track.
Regal Reality has averaged a Racing Post Rating of 119 on his three runs over 1m2f at Sandown, the best of those performances coming when he claimed third behind Enable in the 2019 Eclipse, and a 119 RPR is the joint-highest awarded to a winner of the Gala Stakes over the past decade.
It is doubtful Regal Reality will quite be able to run to that figure at the age of seven, but a return to this venue can provide the catalyst for a first victory in just shy of two years.