Sandown Tips: Check out our best bets on Brigadier Gerard evening

Sandown Tips: We pick out our tips for the Brigadier Gerard evening.
Sandown Tips: We pick out our tips for the Brigadier Gerard evening.

Steve Chambers previews Sandown Park's Brigadier Gerard Stakes evening on Thursday, and picks out his best bets on the Flat card...

18:15 - National Stakes

Some of the speediest juveniles in training will do battle in the National Stakes at 18:15, and an impressive winner could see them head to Royal Ascot in a few weeks. Back in 1988, the Bill O'Gorman-trained Superpower claimed National Stakes victory before going on to win the Norfolk Stakes and some exciting two-year-olds could look to emulate that feat more than three decades on.

George Boughey's Navello is an upwardly mobile sprinter and heads into the race on the back of three fine sprint victories. A fine winner of the Lily Agnes at Chester on his last start, Boughey's charge will have different ground to contend with on Thursday, and may struggle to dominate proceedings in soft ground. Eve Johnson Houghton's Chipotle will put his unbeaten record on the line, and he was an eye-catching winner at Ascot last time out in a conditions event. The Havana Gold colt will need to improve to land a blow here, and is another trying soft ground for the first time, but he has to be respected, as he's sure to continue to improve.

The David Evans-trained Choux landed an almighty gamble at Thirsk a couple of weeks ago, and is looking to build on that effort, but this shall be a whole lot tougher, so is best watched. The eye-catching value play is Hugo Palmer's EBRO RIVER, who finished fifth at Newmarket on debut, but improved significantly next time out when winning at Doncaster two weeks ago. That success on Town Moor came in soft going, so he is one contender that will relish the testing underfoot conditions, and with improvement to come he can cause a shock in the premier sprint of the day.

National Stakes
Ebro River silk

Ebro River


18:50 - Henry II Stakes

A field of five goes to post for the Group 3 Henry II Stakes, and the Roger Teal-trained OCEAN WIND will be looking to book his place in next month's Gold Cup at Royal Ascot by claiming victory in this 2m 50y contest. A hugely progressive handicapper last season, the five-year-old has run with credit this season, but has just failed on three occasions to get his head in front. Second in a conditions event at Kempton in February, the son of Teofilo was then runner-up to a classy Sir Ron Priestley in the Further Flight Stakes at Nottingham before he chased home top class stayer Stradivarius in the Sagaro Stakes at Ascot.

That Ascot form is rock-solid, and it earned him quotes of 12/1 for the Gold Cup at the Royal meeting, and that price could shorten significantly if he wins here. If he can continue his consistency then he should prove to be far too classy for his rivals at Sandown on Thursday night.

Ocean Wind's main rival appears to be the Mark Johnston-trained Nayef Road, who is battling it out for favouritism, but he lines up on the back of a disappointing run in the Yorkshire Cup. Last of five on the Knavesmire, Nayef Road was previously seen contesting the Sagaro Stakes, but was beaten half-a-length by Ocean Wind, and that form can be franked in an intriguing Henry II Stakes renewal.

Henry II Stakes
Ocean Wind silk

Ocean Wind


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19:25 - Brigadier Gerard Stakes

Sir Michael Stoute has a sensational recent record in the Brigadier Gerard Stakes, as the legendary handler has saddled three of the last four winners and he will look to extend that fine record on Thursday with SANGARIUS, who lines up as the red-hot favourite for the Group 3 prize.

A former winner of the Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot, Sangarius is hoping to propel into the picture for the Group 1 Prince Of Wales's Stakes at the Royal meeting - a race he is currently 33/1 for - and he will need to win the Brigadier Gerard impressively to be considered for next month's Group 1 target. 

Proven in soft ground, Sangarius will improve significantly for his second placed finish in the Huxley Stakes at Chester, where he chased home the classy Armory. He showed when winning a Listed event in December over ten furlongs that the Brigadier Gerard Stakes distance will be ideal for him, and while he will have some notable opposition in the shape of Extra Elusive and Fox Tal, Stoute's charge can prove to be too classy.

Extra Elusive could only finish third in the Gordon Richards Stakes at Sandown Park last time out, so will need to improve on that effort to star here, while Fox Tal failed in a Chester handicap last time out, so won't be classy enough to land a blow in a race that Sangarius can dominate.

Brigadier Gerard Stakes
Sangarius silk


Royal Ascot Tips
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