READ-ALL-ABOUT-IT SHOCK ECLIPSE VERDICT: ‘Eclipse first, the rest nowhere’ was how they described the eponymous hero of today’s big race, and Daqman argues that it’s the same again today: one of the big two has been ‘overrated.’ Read all about it.
17.5 BIG-RACE BET FOR DAQMAN: He has big bets today at 17.5, 16.5 and 11.0. It’s easy to work out the offers he took on Betdaq this morning. Simply divide his target profit (‘win 35’ for instance) by his stake. It’s all about getting on early and beating the SP.

2.00 Sandown (The Sprint) Three-year-olds have won this off 100-110, which gives all three a big shout here, though it’s a tall order for Broox and Margot Did from stalls 8 and 10.

Older horses have needed to be 107-110, which rules out Burning Thread, Humidor, Pastoral Player and Beyond Desire as simply not good enough.

Sir Michael Stoute bounced back with a winner yesterday but Kingsgate Native is another badly drawn, and I think he is better when fresh.

That potentially leaves the race between last year’s winner, Triple Aspect, Astrophysical Jet and Night Carnation, who has beaten Margot Did on good ground, though behind her at Royal Ascot. However, they don’t want it too firm for Night Carnation.

Astrophysical Jet was behind Kingsgate Native at Ascot but, on firm ground, has beaten Beyond Desire and Triple Aspect (twice). On Betdaq this morning, I could get 8.2 Astrophysical Jet. Triple Aspect loves Sandown and is the danger on this surface.

2.15 Haydock No SP market leader has won this race in its four-year-existence, and I can’t fancy either paper-favourite Pintrada (up two grades) or new favourite, Seelo, twice raised by the handicapper for being placed, and now 17lb higher than for his second at Newbury in lower grade (hanging, received 8lb).

There’s a line (through Census) which says that Reflect should beat Seelo. Census was around 3lb inferior to Brown Panther at Royal Ascot after Reflect gave weight to Brown Panther – not beaten far but convincingly –over today’s CD. Seelo was beaten around 11lb by Census at Newbury in May.

The worry here is that one of the recent maiden winners, Gosbeck or Highland Castle, will come on the proverbial ton and win this, but – at 11.0 on Betdaq – Reflect is good value, win and place.

2.35 Sandown (The Challenge) Horses aged three and four are seven out of 10 in this: while Circumvent has to beat the stats for the highest weight carried, Highland Knight and Duster are carrying less than the lowest winner this century at their age.

I could find only one winning favourite and Ryan Moore has to winkle this morning’s market leader, Sooraah, out of the ‘coffin box’ trap of stall one. Dunn’o goes for his fifth course win but none with this mark and none without some cut in the ground. On this firm surface, he’s drifted out to the betting weir, like a dog on a raft, 13.0 as I write.

Start Right has been 7lb -10lb off winning major handicaps; instead he’s up another pound. Highland Knight has similar problems. In fact, I think the reason this is called The Challenge is because there isn’t a winner!

There must be one somewhere, so I’ll have a pound on Man Of Action, gelded and blinkered first time. He beat Highland Knight last season without bits missing and bits added on, and I can get 16.5 this morning.

2.50 Haydock (Lancashire Oaks) The three three-year-olds are not up to the normal standard required (though Stoutie has pulled it off in the past with a maiden winner).

Stoute’s Eleanora Duse (6.6 this morning) has run rarely at 1m 4f; when she did last August, she was third to Midday and Snow Fairy, which may be good enough for this. Gertrude Bell has four lengths to find on her Oaks fourth to Snow Fairy and Pollys Mark can beat her on Goodwood form.

3.10 Sandown (Coral-Eclipse) There is no way So You Think deserves his 126 rating in the Northern Hemisphere, as winner of the five-horse Tattersalls Gold Cup, and touched off by Rewilding (121) at Royal Ascot.

Snow Fairy hasn’t won in England since last year’s Oaks and the ‘we’ve got to start somewhere’ attitude of trainer Ed Dunlop says it all as far as a bet is concerned.

Workforce won the Derby on top of the ground but was unable to recover from that until the Arc four months later. He had a charmed life in that rough race and Sir Michael Stoute, the cutest knight you’ll ever meet when it comes to raising a horse’s game, gave him a dummy start to the season, a simple task in the Brigadier Gerard.

Freemason Lodge peeped from under a cloud yesterday and the police-chief’s son is refusing to accept the evidence of a bad run by the stable as witness to Workforce’s potential demise today. That speaks volumes, since many trainers are glad to climb aboard an excuse before a big race.

Aidan O’Brien had one ready after Royal Ascot: So You Think, run out of it by Rewilding, wasn’t fully fit. I fancy the whispering leprechaun was teasing, and I cannot have a five-year-old over a four-year-old who has won a Derby and an Arc.

3.25 Haydock (Old Newton Cup) I am counting the rings in the trees but absolutely nothing older than five has won this since cavemen raced pteradactyls, and a winning favourite is almost as rare.

Luca Cumani (three wins in seven years) and Clive Cox (two) love the race but Clive must have done his anthropology and realized that Dansili Dancer – winner in 2007 – needs a small miracle at his age. Likewise Granston and the professional loser, Halicarnassus.

Bourne hasn’t so far won over this trip but Bowdlers Magic gets further. So does Mount Athos but he’s been murdered by the handicapper. The Fonz has been beaten favourite in three big handicaps since October, and can’t beat Sharayeen on Newmarket form in May even after rehandicapping.

If The Fonz is such a yardstick, then Sharayeen, who was stepping up considerably there, and gambled on like a good thing but came too soon, should have a big shout today. Saved up for this.

BET (win 20pts) 4.1pts win TRIPLE ASPECT and 2.7pts win ASTROPHYSICAL JET (2.0) Sandown)
LAY to win 10pts SEELO, and WIN-35 JACKPOT: BET 3.5pts win and place RESPECT and 1.2pts win (saver) GOSBECK (2.15 Haydock)
BET (WIN 20) 1.3pts win and place MAN OF ACTION and 0.5pts win (saver) START RIGHT (2.35 Sandown)
BET (WIN 20) 3.5pts win ELEANORA DUSE (2.50 Haydock)
LAY to win 10pts SO YOU THINK and BET (win 20pts): 11.5pts win (nap) WORKFORCE (3.10 Sandown)
WIN-35 JACKPOT: BET 4.8pts win SHARAYEEN (3.25 Haydock)