Steve Hughes has two picks for Sandown’s Thursday afternoon card
Sandown hosts the best card this afternoon with the highlight a listed contest for juveniles. However I have two selections from handicaps on the card.
Sandown 2.30: Duke of Bronte
A 100/1 winner earlier in the season of a Newbury maiden, Duke of Bronte has since proven that run to be no fluke with a string of decent performances in handicaps. He also looks a strong stayer and thoroughly genuine and those attributes are enough to give him the vote in this open looking contest.
He needed every yard of that fast run mile at Newbury to get on top and has improved every time he has been stepped up in trip. I was very impressed with his win back at the same track at the beginning of the month over 12f, where he responded to every urging from jockey Oisin Murphy – who is back on board today.
His wins have been gained on fast ground, but he ran well in defeat (again at Newbury) when fifth in one of the hottest 3yo handicaps of the year on soft in May. He should be able to handle today’s conditions as a result and as the most experienced horse in the race is now fully battle hardened, unlike some of today’s opponents.
Sandown 4.45: Finale
Having scored on both her handicap and turf debut (on soft ground) Finale has only been put up 5lbs for that Nottingham success and that may not be enough to stop her today.
The Hughie Morrison trained filly earned an opening handicap mark of 67 on the back of three respectable runs in maiden races during the All Weather season, races that are notoriously tough to rate. Two of those runs came at Southwell, a track with the deepest artificial surface, suggesting connections think she has a preference for soft ground.
That certainly became apparent when she won at Nottingham last month with some authority over this mile trip. There should be more to come on what will only be her fifth outing and there remains enough dig in the ground to bring out the best in her.
1pt win – Duke of Bronte – 2.30 Sandown – 4/1 general
1.5pts win – Finale – 4.45 Sandown – 11/8 Skybet