The Eclipse at Sandown headlines a stellar card at the Esher track on Saturday, while there is some good action at Haydock too.

Here are Nick Luck’s fancies.

Sandown

Although he finished behind him in the King’s Stand, I prefer the chances of KEEP BUSY rather than likely favourite Arecibo in the Sprint Stakes (1.50pm) – the race that kicks off proceedings on ITV on Saturday. That run at Royal Ascot means he has a bit to find with Arecibo, but he showed his liking for this stiff five furlongs in last year’s Scurry Stakes and he has a great draw in stall one. He might just still be improving and can give this a good shot at 5/1. 

 

Next up is the Challenge (2.25pm) and I can’t not give our old friend TRAIS FLUORS another chance. He did us a favour two starts back and he’s only five pounds higher here despite winning with plenty in hand. He had no luck at all last time in the Royal Hunt Cup and would certainly have finished closer if he had a kinder journey. His jockey Oisin Murphy can do little wrong at the moment and he looks the bet at 13/2. 

 

I’ll also throw a few quid each-way on ACCIDENTAL AGENT at 20/1. He’s in much calmer waters than the Queen Anne he ran in last time and he certainly wasn’t disgraced there in any case.  

 

It might not be the most original choice, but I do think STATEMENT holds pretty strong claims in the Distaff (3.00pm) at 9/4. She quite frankly had no chance last time at Epsom last time where Parent’s Prayer got first run on her. Her short-head second to Alcohol Free in the Fred Darling at the start of the season looks very solid form now and a repeat of that will probably be good enough to take this. 

 

MISHRIFF can win the Eclipse (3.35pm) at 6/4. Granted, he needs to prove it in on these shores, but his two victories in Saudi Arabia and Meydan point to a horse that has improved again this year. If the rain does stay away, I’d be particularly keen on him given both Addeybb and St Mark’s Basilica seem to be much better with cut. The former has been a star for connections, but I don’t think he has the pace to live with Mishriff while I’m not sure a tactical four-runner race is what St Mark’s Basilica wants. 

Haydock

DHUSHAN looks a worthy favourite in the 1m6f handicap at Haydock (2.05pm) at 10/3. His trainer William Haggas is brilliant at taking these horses through the grades and he looked a good deal better than a mark of 92 when winning under hands and heels at Musselburgh last time. Everything suggests he should get the trip, albeit there has to be an element of doubt given his breeding. 

 

I’m quite keen on the chances of LA LUNE in the Lancashire Oaks (2.40pm) at 9/1. She has run two excellent races so far this term, most recently at this track on ground which was softer than ideal, but in all honesty she never looked like losing. She looks a different filly this year and is more than worth a go in this grade. Bar Snowfall, I’m not sure the three-year-old fillies are up to much and I’m happy to chance one giving away weight. 

 

The Old Newton Cup (3.15pm) is typically competitive, but the one to back is MIDNIGHTS LEGACY for Alan King and Martin Harley. There are plenty in here with sexier and perhaps more progressive profiles, but if you look through his turf Flat form with some ease in the ground, then he’s one of the really solid contenders. He won nicely at Epsom last time and I fancy him to go in again at 11/1. 

 

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