Sandown Park Tips: Cox can crack Esher Cup code

 | 25th April | 

3 mins read

Sandown Racecourse

Sandown stages the Jump Finale on Saturday, but 24 hours earlier is its opening Flat meeting of the year. The card, which runs from 13:15-16:45, features three Group contests, as many handicaps and a fillies' novice.

I've studied all seven races and come up with a few Sandown Park tips for your consideration.

Sandown Park Tips

  • 13:50 - Cracking Gold @ 9/2
  • 14:25 - Okeechobee @ 3/1
  • 15:00 - Charyn @ 11/4

13:50 - Cracking Gold @ 9/2

Seven go to post for the Esher Cup - a mile-long handicap for three-year-olds rated 0-105 - and it looks a tricky code to crack.

Fittingly, trainer Clive Cox might hold the key with CRACKING GOLD.

The son of Havana Gold made his racecourse debut at Kempton earlier this year and got off the mark at the first time of asking, before bolting up at Lingfield just under a month later.

He then returned to Kempton when tried in handicap company off a mark of 88 and was narrowly beaten by the useful Havanagreattime. Given he took a keen hold early on and found a bit of trouble in running, that was a performance to mark up as far as I'm concerned.

It's for that reason I don't believe a rise of four pounds is harsh. I think there's a lot more to come from the selection, especially up in trip. He looks sure to relish the extra distance.

How he copes with the switch from the all-weather to turf is unknown, but that aside he ticks plenty of boxes under the superb Rossa Ryan.

Cracking Gold to win the 13.50 Sandown at 9-2

14:25 - Okeechobee @ 3/1

My best bet at Sandown on Friday is OKEECHOBEE in the Gordon Richard Stakes - a Group 3 over 1m2f for horses aged four and above.

Harry Charlton's five-year-old is a half-brother to St Leger winner Logician and he's shown plenty of that same ability during his interrupted career so far.

He didn't run at two and was beaten on debut at Wolverhampton in April 2022 which preceded a 96-day break, but later that season he was unbeaten in three starts, culminating in an easy win off a mark of 92 in a four-runner handicap at Salisbury.

Unfortunately for connections, the interruptions didn't stop. He spent the entirety of last term on the sidelines and was gelded, before a highly-encouraging return in a Listed affair on the all-weather at Kempton earlier this month.

Friendless in the market, he was held up throughout and delivered late, suggesting bigger days were ahead for the son of Time Test. That's exciting as the form of that race is strong, with just three lengths separating the selection, who had the 109-rated Lion's Pride over two behind, and the winner Dubai Honour (120).

If he can take a good step forward, he ought to be extremely competitive against rivals who either lack fitness, do most of their racing over longer trips or come here with something to prove after a poor run.

Further positives are the excellent form of his trainer and the booking of the peerless Ryan Moore.

Okeechobee to win the 14.25 Sandown at 3-1

15:00 - Charyn @ 11/4

Finally, I'm with Roger Varian's CHARYN in the feature - a mile-long Group 2 for four-year-olds and up.

The son of Dark Angel was winless in seven starts last season, although he was keeping very strong company and emerging with plenty of credit.

He returned this season as a four-year-old with a facile Listed victory at Doncaster almost exactly a month ago, suggesting notable improvement over the summer.

Most importantly, that run will have blown away the cobwebs and he now comes here race-fit against rivals who are, in the main, having their seasonal reappearance.

At this stage of the season, that can be crucial, which is what I'm banking on here. Charyn wouldn't be my pick if these were all racing off a level playing field - although I wouldn't expect him to be all that far behind - but I fancy that advantage could prove the difference.

Charyn to win the 15.00 Sandown at 11-4

Find more Horse Racing Tips here at Betfred Insights

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