The two-day Sandown meeting will bring the curtain down on the National Hunt season, but Friday is all about Flat racing and Betfair Ambassador Ryan Moore has a strong book of seven rides...
"His work leading up to this race has been good and he looks to set the clear form standard here on his Gordon Stakes win for me and obviously his St Leger second to Capri."
- Ryan Moore on Crystal Ocean
Ground and trip to suit be he needs to step up
My horse probably lacks the profile of a Kings Shield but he comes here with a progressive profile all the same and he was in good form on the all-weather earlier in the year. There is rain around by the looks of it, but he has winning form with dig and this looks his trip, so let's see how we get on. He will probably need to step up on his return to turf, though.
Form horse one to note for the season ahead
The boss has had a fair bit of success in this race down the years, including with Ulysses last year, and Crystal Ocean looks to hold leading claims. His work leading up to this race has been good and he looks to set the clear form standard here on his Gordon Stakes win for me and obviously his St Leger second to Capri.
He is obviously stepping back markedly in trip to 1m2f, and is probably meeting horses who are more suited and attuned to this distance, but he won first time out over 1m2f last season, then finished third in a Dante, and he is a horse with a lot of class.
Whatever happens here, I think he is one to note this year, and his Goodwood win shows he handles soft ground well. He's a good horse, and the race conditions suit him as he doesn't have to carry a penalty for his Group 3 win.
Hunting Horn not to be underestimated
Chilean is obviously the horse to beat on form, and is fit after his heavy-ground win in France - it was a Group 3, so he is unpenalised here - so we are all playing catch up with him on that front. But there are clearly a lot of very promising horses in here, including impressive Windsor winner Sevenna Star, and my colt Hunting Horn shouldn't be underestimated. He gave me a decent feel when winning in testing ground at Naas a fortnight ago, and trip and ground will suit. He clearly has a lot to find form-wise but the potential and pedigree is there, and Aidan has won this race in the past.
Tough task ahead against higher rated horses
He looks to have run well enough in three starts in Dubai, so hopefully he is fit and forward for this. And we know that he goes well here and is a difficult horse to beat when getting on the front end. But he faces a pretty stiff task here at these weights, and he has never raced on anything worse than good, if the rain came with any vengeance. More pertinently, he is confronted by higher rated and very good horses, a couple of Group 1 winners and big improvers like Addeybb, so he has plenty on his plate. I think last year's winner Sovereign Debt could be the one to beat if he comes back to his best.
Hoping to build on decent return
He was a fair sprinting 2yo and he clearly made a decent return to action when winning at Southwell last month. I'd be lying if I said I knew much about him but he has form on soft and fast ground on turf, and a mark of 94 is probably fair enough on what he has achieved to date. And he did finish third in the National Stakes here last season.
Newmarket maiden form looking very strong
I don't know anything about her bar her sole run at two. But that Newmarket maiden fourth over 1m looks decent enough form. The winner won a handicap at Windsor on Monday, the runner-up won her maiden easily at the Craven meeting and third took a Listed race on her next start last year. So, in receipt of 6lb from the winners in here, I think you have to give her a fair chance. Crystal Hope is a decent filly for the future, though, and the likes of Model have mixed it in good company and the other two winners could be very smart as well. The extra 2f here should suit my filly on pedigree.
Deent chance in tight handicap
He makes a quick turnaround after his fifth for me at Newmarket last week, and I was happy enough with him there. I thought he stuck on pretty well after I pressed ahead from the start there, and hopefully the run will have brought him on. But it's a tight, little handicap, and there are two or three dangerous-looking types in opposition.