15:15 Sandown - Eagles Peak
I rode him when he won on his debut at three - Dick Doughtywylie was back in third that day - but he clearly has had his problems since then. So it was great to see him back and winning at Goodwood in September. That 1m4f handicap win only came off a mark of 95 though, so he really shouldn't be up to winning a Group 3 on what he has achieved. But the Goodwood form worked out ok, he has been going nicely enough at home, and I have seen stronger Group 3s than this, so we will see. We have to get him started somewhere and this looks a good race to kick off his season, 1m2f on a track like this. And there are question marks against a few in here. Al Kazeem has been off a long time and Thomas Chippendale became a bit disappointing last season, so to me Ektihaam, who looked very good when winning first time up at Newbury last season, is definitely the horse to beat.
16:25 Sandown - Carry On Sydney
I think Nichols Canyon will probably be the one that everyone will be getting excited about here, a Derby entry running off a mark of 85 for John Gosden. He obviously has to be respected but I wasn't overly impressed by his Goodwood win, and this looks a pretty competitive handicap. Carry On Sydney doesn't look particularly well handicapped to me but he is fit and in form. And the crucial pointer to his chances is that he is stepping up in trip; his run style suggests it will suit and so does his breeding as he is by Notnowcato, who is a stamina influence. But I suspect we may find one or two better handicapped.
16:55 Sandown - Forgotten Hero
This one looks interesting off a mark of 89 in a first time hood. He was obviously quite well regarded last season as Charlie looked to be thinking in Classic terms after the horse impressively won his maiden at Lingfield in March - I rode the third in that race - and he let him take his chance in the Craven. But the problem with him is that he proved far too keen and didn't settle that day, and wasn't seen out again until Ascot in October, having been gelded in the meantime. He clearly hasn't been straightforward to train and has questions to answer today, but they clearly thought a fair bit of him last season, and I think that he has prospects here if putting it altogether. He looks to have the raw ability to make his presence felt off this kind of mark, I would have thought. I know Mister Music well, and he could prove the one to beat with the Kempton run under his belt. He looks well handicapped if coming back to the form of his Goodwood third last August.
17:30 Sandown - Charitable Act
This is a novelty Flat v Jumps race, so I am really looking forward to pitting my talents against my National Hunt counterparts. Not. But it's a decent race with decent prize money - in fact, Sandown should be praised for the money on offer here at this two day meeting - and let's hope that I can win this for my old man, who has taken over this horse from Willie Muir. In truth, I haven't spoken to him about the horse yet, but I am quite happy with what the form books tells me. A mile on good ground looks fine for him, and I think he is fairly handicapped, 5lb higher than when winning at Bath and on the same mark as when a length second to a subsequent winner at Wolverhampton in October. But it's a competitive little race, as you would expect.