Sandown Betting Tips For April 26

Betting.org experts give their three bet bets for a cracking seven-race card at Sandown on Friday, April 26. Crystal Ocean looks a cut-above his rivals, so rates the standout punt to land back-to-back runnings of the Group 3 Gordon Richards Stakes over 1m 2f. Sharja Bridge is progressing at a rate of knots and therefore gets the next best vote to take the step up into Group 3 company in his stride and land the spoils in the bet365 Mile. Alfaatik, meanwhile, looks an exciting prospect and appeals each-way in the Classic Trial given his trainer’s superb record in the 1m 2f contest. Find out more about these horses in our in-depth preview with Sandown betting tips for April 26.

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Odds
4/5
NAP
Crystal Ocean
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Betvictor logo
Odds
3/1
NB
Sharja Bridge
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William Hill logo
Odds
6/1
E/W
Alfaatik
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Crystal Ocean a Gordon Richards gem

Crystal Ocean looks a worthy odds-on favourite to land back-to-back runnings of the Group 3 Gordon Richards Stakes at Sandown on Friday (14:25). This five-year-old is one of the very best middle distance horses in training and hails from the yard of Sir Michael Stoute, who has won the 1m 2f contest a record nine times – including the last two runnings.

The Evelyn De Rothschild owned son of dual Derby winner Sea The Stars has a terrific strike rate having won five of his 12 career starts. He has also made the frame on five occasions, while an official rating of 125 gives him 7lb and upwards in hand on his six rivals.

After winning this on the nod 12 months ago when beating Fabricate by a short-head, Crystal Ocean went on to land the Group 3 Aston Parks at Newbury by six lengths. He then completed a hat-trick with an easy 2 1/2 lengths success over Red Verdon in the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Fine efforts at highest level

Connections then decided to step the 2017 St Leger runner-up back into Group 1 company, and he ran an screamer when going down all guns blazing by a neck to stable companion Poet’s Word in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot. Jockey William Buick kicked for home two furlong out that day and arguably set sail for home too early.

Crystal Ocean then ran well to finish runner-up to subsequent duel Arc winner Enable in the Group 3 September Stakes at Kempton, where he faced an impossible task in trying to concede 8lb to John Gosden’s wonder filly. He rounded off the campaign with a solid six lengths second of eight to Cracksman in the Group 1 Champion Stakes at Ascot.

The form of those races set a clear standard in this and Crystal Ocean simply looks in a different league to his rivals. Even if ring rusty, he has enough class to compensate for that and come out on top. He is fully expected to take this en route to bigger and better things, so we had no hesitation in making him the standout punt in these Sandown betting tips for April 26.

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Sharja Bridge makes plenty of appeal in Mile

Sharja Bridge is progressing at a rate of knots, so – despite now facing his stiffest task to date – looks decent value to land the Group 2 bet365 Mile (15:35). This Roger Varian trained five-year-old sports the famous yellow and black colours of owner Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum and is lightly-raced for his age having won three of his 10 starts.

He had just three outings last season – showing improved form and ran well on each. Sharja Bridge saved the best for last when rounding off the campaign with a breathtaking success in the ultra-competitive 20-runner Balmoral Handicap on British Champions Day at Ascot. Jockey James Doyle held him up at the rear and he was twice denied a run when making a move two from home.

Sharja Bridge then bravely went for a gap between rivals ,and showed an explosive turn of foot to get up close home and beat Escobar by three-quarters of a length. It was an unbelievable run, given how the race panned out and one which suggested he was a pattern performer in the making.

Fitness an advantage over race rivals

That view was confirmed on return to action last month when Sharja Bridge ran out the impressive winner of the Listed Doncaster Mile at Town Moor. After being steadied at the start and held-up at the rear of the nine-runner field by jockey Andrea Atzeni, the son of Oasis Dream cruised into contention two from home.

Sharja Bridge then took up the running approaching the final furlong and, when Atzeni pushed the button, quickened instantly to put the race to bed and easily beat Red Starlight by two lengths. It was a very authoritative display and one which suggested he was well worth a crack at this higher level.

Although an official rating of 111 leaves him with a bit to find with last year’s winner Addeybb (117) and Beat The Bank (116), that duo are making their seasonal debuts and Sharja Bridge has the benefit of race fitness on his side. His rivals simply may need the run.

He also hails from a yard that has stated the new Flat season in fine style and is operating at a strike rate of 21 per cent in the last 14 days at the time of writing. So, taking everything into account, Sharja Bridge looks the one to be on in this and therefore rates out next best bet on the card.

Classic case to be made for Alfaatik

Trainer John Gosden has a superb record in the Sandown Classic Trial (15:00), having won it a record nine times courtesy of Pollen Count (1992), True Hero (1993), Linney Head (1994), Santillana (1996), Centennial (2008), Azmeel (2010), Western Hymn (2014), Cunco (2017) and Sevenna Star (2018). He saddles two in this year’s renewal of the 1m 2f contest and the pick looks to be Alfaatik.

This son of Sea The Stars looked an exciting prospect when winning his sole starts as a juvenile. That run came in a seven-runner novice stakes contest at Chelmsford where he beat stable companion Pianissimo, who was sent off odds-on, by three-quarters of a length despite things not going to plan.

Taking debut

After being slowly away, Alfaatik ran very green at the rear of the field. The penny then finally began to drop and he made good headway three from home to chase the leaders, before taking up the running approaching the final furlong. He again then showed distinct signs of inexperience and edged left before only having to be pushed out by Jim Crowley to get the job done.

Alfaatik was well on top at the finish and undoubtedly value for much more than the winning margin. The front two also pulled seven lengths clear of Ring Cycle, who went into the race on the back of a promising debut when a 4 1/2 lengths seventh of 14 to Set Piece at Kempton. Given that Set Piece is held in high regard and finished a fine third last time out in the Group 3 Craven Stakes at Newmarket, it gives the form a solid look.

So, as Alfaatik is open to any amount of progression, and now gets fitted with the blinkers for the first time to sharpen him up, he looks a fascinating contender in this given powerful connections. He has also reportedly been working well at home; so, at the odds on offer, looks decent each-way value and thus completes these Sandown betting tips for April 26.

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