HATS off to racing’s top brass for having the foresight to schedule an early start at both Sandown and Haydock tomorrow to prevent a clash with the World Cup.
As it turns out England will kick-off their quarter-final clash with Sweden at 3pm, which will be deep into both fixtures with the feature contests long done and dusted.
The Coral Charge (12.20pm) gets proceedings underway at Sandown and looks at the mercy of Muthmir who got back to winning ways at Haydock last time.
At eight-years-old, his best days may well be behind him, but the son of Invincible Spirit is dangerous at this level.
However, he won’t have it all his own way with in-form Judicial and course specialist Haddaf looking major threats.
The cases for leading fancies Daira Prince and Original Choice are obvious in the Coral Challenge (12.55pm).
The latter won a decent race at Wetherby in May, but I’m a little worried about the lightning fast ground for him.
As for Daira Prince, he could still be very well-handicapped, but this trip is on the short side for him which is a niggling worry.
Instead, I’m going to take a chance on an Andrew Balding-trained runner at a massive price.
SOUTH SEAS was a very talented two-year-old a couple of years ago, with the pick of his performances coming at this track where he won the Solario Stakes.
He lost his way last season with a couple of wayward displays, but has shown signs of life in his two starts this campaign since been gelded.
It would be a huge effort to win this off top weight on ground plenty fast enough for him, but he can certainly outrun his odds and looks a decent each-way prospect at 16/1 Ladbrokes.
Next up it’s the turn of the fillies in the Coral Distaff (1.30pm) and arguably the best bet of the weekend in NARELLA who makes her eagerly-awaited debut for Roger Varian.
Formerly trained in Germany by Markus Klug, the exciting daughter of Reliable Man hasn’t been seen in action since finishing last of the seven runners in the Prix Marcel Boussac last autumn.
Previously, she had won both of her two starts in her native Germany in impressive fashion, but they came on a sound surface and conditions looked against her at Chantilly.
She takes a dramatic drop in class here into Listed company and looks worthy of support at 9/4 with Ladbrokes.
At a much bigger price, it would be no surprise to see Tajaanus go well for Richard Hannon at 16/1.
She ran really well with a massive weight in the Sandringham Stakes at Royal Ascot last month and was never going to be able to give the winner a stone, although she may be better over seven furlongs.
Finally, the penultimate race of the day is the Coral Marathon (3.20pm) and it may pay to flick over from the football for just a few minutes.
NEARLY CAUGHT won this prize 12 months ago and looks set to mount another serious challenge this time around.
He made an adequate return over an insufficient trip at Nottingham in April and followed that with a good run in a Group Two in Germany where he passed the post first before being disqualified
The marathon Queen Alexandra at Royal Ascot a few weeks proved too far and this drop in trip looks ideal.
South Seas e/w 12.55pm Sandown
Narella 1.30pm Sandown
Nearly Caught 3.20pm Sandown