Sandown preview: Coral Marathon (16.20)
Havana Beat can take advantage of a drop in class to land the Coral Marathon at Sandown (16.20) for the second year in succession.
The Andrew Balding trained gelding has won two of his three starts at the Esher venue, and the last of those came in this race 12 months ago where he showed tremendous guts to rally strongly and beat Repeater by a head after being carried badly left inside the final furlong.
Since then the five-year-old has been highly tried but run with great credit in five starts.
Amongst those efforts are a fine fourth of 15 to Brown Panther in the Group 2 Duabi Gold Cup at Meydan, and a solid two length third to Snow Sky in the Group 2 Yorkshire Cup at Doncaster.
The form of the latter is particular strong, as Snow Sky has since gone on to beat a top class field in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot ad is among the leading contenders for the King George.
Havana Beat was also far from disgraced last time out when weakening late on to finish a 5 1/2 length ninth of 12 to Trip To Paris in the 2m 4f Group 1 Gold Cup at Royal Ascot, and the drop back down to 2m is sure to suit.
This also less competitive, and represents the easiest task that Havana Beat has faced for some time.
Angel Gabrial shaped as if returning to form last time out and looks the one most likely to capitalise if Havana Beat fails to live up to expectations.
The Richard Fahey trained gelding landed the Northumberland Plate at Newcastle last season by 3 1/2 lengths and put in a cracking effort in this year’s renewal when fourth of 19 to Quest For More seven days ago.
Angel Gabrial travelled strongly throughout before keeping on well to be beaten just 1 3/4 lengths.
Prior to that the six-year-old had finished a decent third to Clever Cookie in a Listed contest at York, and the son of Hurricane Run appears to be coming to the boil nicely and should be up to making his presence felt at this level.
Coral betting tip: Havana Beat is your best bet in the Coral Marathon.