I love milers. Why? It’s simple: 1 mile races are the perfect combination of speed and stamina. Now, what does this say? I’m feeling quite excited about the Sandown Mile on Friday afternoon. My all-time favourite miler Paco Boy won this race twice during his illustrious career. So this race really has a special place in my heart.
That says we have a cracking renewal on our hands! Some smart, progressive milers are going to post. There might be bigger targets on their radar further down the line, but this is a good starting point. A real pointer in fact!
The jury is out on Shifting Power in my mind. He ran a cracker in last years 2.000 Guineas and backed it up with a fine second in the Irish equivalent behind Kingman. He ran another cracker in defeat in the Group 1 Prix Jean Prat that summer. But was subsequently a huge disappointment n lesser grade when last season in 2014.
His trainer feels he’s a Group 1 winner in the making. The form tells so, to an extend. I always thought he lacks the extra bit of speed required at the highest level, though. Now, the Sandown Mile is a Group 2 and Shifting Power entitled to be favourite. Particularly since he is in receive of weight from other main rivals. But his price is nothing more than fair. At 11/4 there are better alternatives.
The Irish trained Custom Cut really made gigantic progress last year. He won a couple of races, including the Group 2 Joel Stakes at Newmarket. I expect him to be ready for the race and a bold bid is expected. I’m just slightly worried that he certainly needs the lead to be seen at his best. However he may be challenged here, or at least won’t have it all that easy from the front with horses chasing him.
Here Comes When won two Group 2’s toward the end of last season. He’s been clearly progressive and an exciting prospect. However the quick ground certainly counts against him at Sandown. He seems sure to be seen to best effect with cut in the ground. For that simple reason he looks opposable to me.
By far the most exciting individual in this field is Bow Creek. Now trained by Charlie Appleby, he was a two times Group 2 winner last season for Mark Johnston. He landed the Celebration Mile at Goodwood from the front, despite hanging badly in the closing stages. He followed up with a gutsy success on Irish Champions Weekend.
Cheek-pieces fitted for the first time should help him to stay focused in the closing stages, as sometimes things seem to distract him and he can hang. No doubt he has bigger targets this year and will come on for the run, but he’ll love the fast ground and the track should suit as well. He looks a big price to me.
The rest of the field has allot to find against the main contenders. Baltic Knight went close to beat Custom Cut in a Listed event last year, but hasn’t been in any sort of form similar to that when seen recently. Fast conditions may not be quite suitable for Breton Rock and Master Carpenter. Top Notch Tonto would not be out of it if he could run to something like his performance in the Group 2 Boomerang Mile. But it’s not easy to see to be honest.
Verdict: A cracking renewal with some rally exciting horses in the line-up… you can’t ask for more. That says the penalties for last seasons successes make it an even more intriguing contest, in that sense that Shifting Power has no excuses receiving 5lb from his main rivals. However betting wise I’m sweet on Bow Creek. He has tons of potential plus track, trip, ground will suit perfectly.
2.30 Sandown: Bet365 Mile (Group 2)
Bow Creek @ 4/1 Paddy Power – 5pts Win