Through The Card: Sandown, Friday 14 September
Timeform take you through the card at Sandown on Friday...
"...this smaller field and less demanding opposition will play to his strengths..."
Timeform on Mordin
14:15 - Both of the leading form contenders ROYAL DYNASTY (12) and ASTRONAUT (1) haven't fared well with the draw, but they still look the two to focus on in a race where the newcomers don't jump off the page. The former made an adequate debut over this C&D last month and, though she failed to improve at Ffos Las last time, she did well under the circumstances, racing freely and not ideally placed. Astronaut, on the other hand, showed much improved form from his debut when fourth at Windsor last time, and the winner of that race has run well in defeat since. It will be disappointing if at least one of these doesn't hit the frame here.
14:50 - Michael Appleby has certainly rekindled the fire within TAN (1) recently, the four-year-old winning three of his four starts since joining the yard, and leaving the impression his winning run may carry on at Brighton last time. He demolished his rivals from the front, drawing clear two furlongs out and not hard pressed to win by an eventual three lengths. A subsequent 8 lb rise in the weights is warranted and he is fancied to follow up under this good-value claimer.
15:25 - KOSCIUSZKO (6) has plenty of stamina in his pedigree - dam is a sister to smart 1¼m-1½m winner (stayed 2m) Drill Sergeant - but he shaped with encouragement on debut over seven furlongs at this course in July, leaving the impression he would come on for the experience. He looked the stable second string on paper that day, and that theory rung true, beaten by stablemate Beatboxer who looks an exciting prospect. The form of that race is working out nicely and Kosciuszko could make a big jump forward here, especially now moving up in trip. Venedegar looks the obvious threat.
15:55 - MORDIN (3) is proving a very likeable type, winning the first three starts of his career, and finishing runner-up in his next three before shaping better than the bare result in the John Smith's Cup at York last time. That was by far the most competitive handicap he has tested so far, and he seemed to pay late on for over-racing early on in the race, weakening over a furlong out after chasing the leaders entering the home straight. He races from 1 lb higher here, but this smaller field and less demanding opposition will play to his strengths, along with the drop back to a mile - two of his three wins have come over this trip.
16:30 - FIRMAMENT (1) is on a lengthy losing run, but this represents one of his easiest assignments so far this season, and he is handicapped to strike. He has been beaten three lengths of less in some of the most competitive handicaps of the season in his last three starts and he has conditions to suit here. It will be disappointing if he doesn't go very close here. Absolutely So hasn't been at his best of late, but is another who lurks on a tempting mark, and is another to consider.
17:00 - AUGENBLICK (6) created a good impression winning both of her starts on the all-weather last season, form which has worked out, and she makes a fair bit of appeal now entering handicaps on her return from 10 months off. Roger Varian has a good strike race with his handicap debutants, and she could have been let in lightly from an opening mark of 80, likely to have won by more than two lengths at Newcastle on her final start, not doing much once getting to the front. She did everything with ease that day, and she should have even more to offer this season.
17:30 - THE LAST EMPEROR (3) is the one who remains with the most potential and is taken to get back to winning ways for his red-hot yard in the hope he settles better with cheekpieces fitted. Astrologist reportedly bled when last seen but could get back on the up now handicapping after a gelding operation. Wimpole Hall's course form figures over 1m stand at a first and a second and he could revive.
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14:15 - 1, 12
14:50 - 1
15:25 - 6
15:55 - 3
16:30 - 1
17:00 - 6