Sandown preview: All eyes on Elm Park
Elm Park bids to get his career back on track in the Listed 1m feature contest on today’s card at Sandown (15.20), and looks a worthy red-hot favourite to do so now dropped significantly in class.
The Andrew Balding trained colt was ultra-progressive as a juvenile when winning four of his five starts.
They included the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket and the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster where Elm Park made all and quickened clear to score impressively by 2 1/2 lengths.
Elm Park was considered a leading classic contender on the back of that success, and ran well on his seasonal reappearance when a six length third to Golden Horn in the Group 2 Dante Stakes at York over 1m 2f on good ground.
The three-year-old was sent off 9/1 for the Investec Derby on the back of that performance, but put in a shocking display and trailed in a distant 11th of 12 to Golden Horn after racing far too keenly in the early stages.
Connections have since given Elm Park a break to freshen up, and the son of Phoneix Reach now gets the cut in the ground that he relishes.
The drop back down in trip should not inconvenience, and Elm Park looks in a different league to his rivals now pitched into Listed company.
It looks a lovely opportunity for Elm Park to bag a confidence boosting success, and it will be a major disappointment if he does get the job done with the minimum of fuss.
In the 5f handicap that opens proceedings (13.45), Ladweb can take advantage of a drop in the weights to land the spoils.
The John Gallagher trained gelding was last successful at Bath 16 months ago when scoring by 2 1/2 lengths off a mark of 79.
Ladweb went on to finish runner-up twice off 84, and also ran very well over 5f at Goodwood when a one length runner-up to Desert Ace in a class 3 contest on soft ground off 85.
The five-year-old is now able to race in this lower grade class 5 affair off 73, 6lb lower than when last successful, and that makes him dangerously well-treated on the pick of his form.
Ladweb also handles cut in the ground, and has bagged the plum draw in stall one from which to attack.
13.45: Ladweb (NB)
15.20: Elm Park (NAP)
17.00: Cape Spirit