This race preview covers the second of two Listed events at Sandown on Friday and looks a head-to-head between the top two on the racecard. Read our betting tips to find out which one we think will prevail.
IN SUMMARY: Last year’s Royal Hunt Cup hero Gm Hopkins has often shaped as though he’ll be suited by 1m2f and is afforded plenty of respect but the 3lb penalty he carries for this season’s Listed success back at Ascot might just give an edge to AYRAD, who found 1m4f on soft ground took taxing in a French Group 2 last month but was a very good third in a C&D Group 3 on his debut for Roger Charlton in April. It’s difficult to find any value elsewhere but Spark Plug may fare best of the rest.
1 Gm Hopkins – Won the Royal Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot (1m, good to firm) just over a year ago and was also successful over that C&D in Listed company on seasonal debut in April; certainly not disgraced when upped to Group 1 level for the Lockinge two starts ago and had excuses when defending his crown in the Royal Hunt Cup last month; will be fine on today’s ground and there’s a good chance the step up in trip will suit; commands respect.
2 Ayrad – Enjoyed success at this level for Roger Varian at Goodwood (1m4f, good) in May 2015 and made pleasing seasonal reappearance for Roger Charlton when third in the Group 3 Gordon Richards Stakes over C&D (good to soft) in April; appeared to have stamina stretched by 1m4f on soft ground when sent to France for a Group 2 last month but is a leading contender if aided by first-time cheekpieces here.
3 Spark Plug – Didn’t get the best of runs and was only beaten about 5l when 12th in the Royal Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot (1m, soft) last month; could still have untapped potential over 1m2f and underfoot ease evidently holds no terrors but he has a bit to find on the figures with the principals.
4 What About Carlo – Won a valuable Newbury handicap (1m2f, good to soft) in September and ran to a similar level when placed at Epsom (1m2f, good to soft) on Oaks day a month ago; that form is just shy of the required standard here, though, and he ran poorly at Royal Ascot when last in action.
5 Jelly Monger – Yet to add to her shock 66-1 win on her 2yo debut in September 2014 and was unplaced all seven starts in 2015; has some useful form to her name but faces a very tough assignment after 207-day layoff here.
6 Dessertoflife – Bagged 7f 2yo Group 3 event in Germany in September and suffered interference when very respectable fourth on seasonal debut in Cheshire Oaks at Chester (11.3f, good) in May; won’t be far away if in similar form here but has questions to answer after finishing down the field on last couple of outings.
myracing Forecast Prices: 13/8 Gm Hopkins, Ayrad, 5/1 Spark Plug, 10/1 Dessertoflife, 12/1 What About Carlo, 33/1 Jelly Monger