Friday Racing Tips: Back Blue Sky to shine at Sandown

A solitary selection at Sandown for Tony...
A solitary selection at Sandown for Tony...

Tony Calvin examines Friday's Flat card at Sandown and he's picked out a huge priced runner in the opener...


"Mister Blue Sky is a very solid performer, with course form, proven ability on fast ground, and who was always expected to make a better three-year-old. And capable 7lb claimer David Egan takes the ride."

It's a very interesting card at Sandown on Friday, but unfortunately not a particularly bet-inducing one for a variety of reasons.

But we plough on regardless and, as usual in these circumstances - though I have unearthed one bet on the four ITV3 races (on which subject it is undeniably a shame that terrestrial racing is, perhaps by necessity, shuffled around the ITV pack of four stations) - we take it from top to bottom.


Blue must be backed at this price

I was actually all set to leave the opening 3yo 1m handicap at 13:50 well alone, as these types of races at this time of year are guessing games to a large degree, but no way was I expecting Mister Blue Sky to be put in as one of the rags at 33/1+.

Okay, if is there is one horse in here who could make a mockery of his mark - and there could be two or three, given some of the profiles - then it is undoubtedly Atty Persse.

He won over course and distance in a good time, from a subsequent winner, last September and it was no surprise that Godolphin came a calling - just as they did with Greenham winner Barney Roy after his Haydock maiden win last season - and this Derby and Dante entry could be thrown in off a mark of 87 here.

Mister Blue Sky is clearly far more exposed but at least he is exposed as a very solid performer, with course form, proven ability on fast ground, and who was always expected to make a better three-year-old. And capable 7lb claimer David Egan takes the ride.

Presumably he has been a bit of a "boyo" though, as he has been gelded since we have last seen him, but the ultimate chop can bring with it improvement, as we saw with Banksea last Saturday. And while the stable haven't started the season is rip-roaring form, there was plenty of promise to be gleaned from their three runners at Epsom on Wednesday.

Gawdawpalin finished a good third, and the stable's three-year-old handicappers finished a close-up third and fourth in the 1m contest.

Mister Blue Sky may be bumping into far better-treated horses here, but he is undoubtedly a bet at 34.033/1 or bigger for me. And I will also look to back him at 8.07/1 or better in the standard place market.


Ulysees the value pick in Gordon Richard Stakes

The Gordon Richards Stakes at 14:20 is another tricky race to call, as the betting suggests.

I was slightly surprised to see Royal Artillery installed as the marginal favourite over last year's winner My Dream Boat, for all the former comes from a red-hot stable and the latter would probably prefer softer ground, but they could both be trumped by Ulysses.

There was a lot of gossip about the horse last season and he only went off at 8/1 for the Derby on the back of an admittedly impressive win in a poor Newbury maiden, and he didn't really "walk the walk" - or should that be "walk the talk"? - for all that he bounced back from a modest Epsom effort to run three solid races, including a Group 3 win at Goodwood.

He is not my kind of bet - and the stable's four-year-olds with a similar profile, like Midterm and Autocratic, didn't fire first time up - but apparently he has been delighting connections in his homework and he could well be the punt of the race at around 4/1. And he does have only 4lb to find with form horse My Dream Boat on official figures, and is the second best horse in here as it stands.

But I can leave him alone. Just. He would be my bet in the race, if forced, though.


Thoughts on the other ITV3 races

The five-runner Classic Trial at 14:55 is not my cup of tea at all but it is fascinating that connections of Fierce Impact are taking in this Derby Trial instead of going down the handicap route first with their 81-rated Yarmouth winner.

But 6/1 doesn't entice me enough, and I can't see any angle into the race whatsoever.

The only other ITV3 race on the card is another head-scratcher in the form of the Group 2 mile at 15:30. I just don't have a betting opinion on the race so I'll park it right there.


And the RUK action

There are three good races on RUK at the end of the card and the 17:10 is a handicap that has thrown up some very good winners recently, notably Jack Hobbs who won this off a mark of just 85 two years ago.

John Gosden has another Derby entry in here off 86, Glencadam Glory in a first-time hood, so I imagine that the layers won't be taking too many chances with him.

But Naseem and Century Dream are equally interesting and this is a race to watch and learn, rather than bet on, as they say.

Unless you "know" there is a horse with about two stone in hand, a la Jack Hobbs, that is.


Recommended Bets

Back Mister Blue Sky at 34.033/1 win and 8.07/1 place in the 13:50 at Sandown

Tony Calvin P&L from Good Friday 2017

18 selections (16 to win, two to place, average price of win selections: 20.125)
17 losers
One winner
P&L – -11.2 pts (to BSP, all selections level stakes)

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