Sandown preview: Best Of Times up for the Coral Challenge
David Metcalf | July 1, 2016
Coral Challenge could be Best Of Times for punters
Best Of Times has shaped better than the result suggests in two runs this season and can get back to winnings ways in the Coral Challenge at Sandown (14:35) now dropped back in trip.
The Godolphin owned colt had some smart form to his name last year, winning three times and finishing an excellent 1 1/2 length runner-up to Storm The Stars in the Listed Cocked Hat Stakes at Goodwood.
Best Of Times, who is trained by Saeed bin Suroor, was then off the track for 12 months before putting in an eye-catching return to action at Chester.
Although only ninth of 12 to Sound Advice, the four-year-old was slowly away and constantly denied a clear run up the home straight to be beaten just 4 3/4 lengths.
Best Of Times finished full of running, and it was an effort which suggested the son of Dubawi was ahead of his handicap mark of 105.
Fine run at Royal Ascot
That view was confirmed when Best Of Times finished sixth of 15 to Sir Isaac Newton in the valuable Wolferton Handicap at Royal Ascot.
Although eventually beaten five lengths in the 1m 2f Listed contest, Best Of Times raced keenly in the early stages before looming up on the bridle two from home and only weakening out of contention late on.
Judged on that run, the drop back to 1m looks sure to suit, and the winner has since landed a Group 3 contest at the Curragh to give the form a strong look in relation to this lower grade class 2 affair.
Donncha the main danger
There are plenty of dangers in a wide-open and fiercely competitive renewal, and Donncha is feared most.
The Robert Eddery trained five-year-old has some solid form in top class handicaps, and has run well in all three outings this season.
After being beaten just a neck on return to action at Doncaster, Donncha was a big eye-catcher when slowly away and encountering trouble in-running before finishing with a flourish to be beaten just 2 1/2 lengths into fifth behind Always Smile in a 19-runner Listed handicap.
The son of Captain Marvelous was the far from disgraced when a six length 15 of 28 to Portage in last month’s Royal Hunt Cup, and looks sure to pick up a big pot at some point.
Donncha is also versatile as regards ground and has the services of top apprentice Tom Marquand in the saddle, who is terrific value for his 3lb claim.
You’ll find more Sandown tips from Coral-Eclipse day on our dedicated page.
Coral’s top tip: Best Of Times looks decent value to land a fiercely competitive Coral Challenge. Donncha is a consistent sort and seems sure to go well in the hands of crack apprentice Tom Marquand.