Eagles Peak can ignite Sir Michael Stoute’s season by winning the bet365 Gordon Richards Stakes at Sandown.
The decorated Newmarket handler has hardly exploded on to the scene this spring, but he has the right horse in the right race to secure an important success in Esher.
Eagles Peak has hitherto had a troubled career, with just three starts since July 2011. He has, however, always been fondly regarded by Stoute, with encouraging gallops reports suggesting the five-year-old entire is ready to go about his business.
Last September’s Goodwood win told a great deal about his potential as Group-race contender when he overcame a 406-day layoff to win a hot-looking mile-and-a-half handicap. The form looks strong, too, as the runner-up that day, Cubanita, claimed Listed honours on her next start at Doncaster, where she beat the high-class Sajjhaa pretty convincingly.
Although Stoute’s neatly-reared son of Galileo might perhaps be at his best over a mile and a half, rather than this 10-furlong trip, that slight concern is offset by the likelihood of better ground at Sandown. Granted an uninterrupted season, this could be finally be the year he realises his true potential.
The feature jumps race on the card, the bet365 Gold Cup, does not look easy, but it might be beneficial to throw a few bob in the direction of Hold On Julio.
Trainer Alan King is ending the season with a flourish, having taken the Scottish Grand National last weekend with Godsmejudge, and he is taken to have this one back to his best. There is a suspicion this race has always been the long-term objective for the 10-year-old gelding, such is his fondness for the track.
King’s inmate won twice at Sandown last year, but has rather floundered in the wet conditions this winter.
His fifth-placed finish in at Aintree earlier this month hardly inspires too much confidence, but there is a chance this longer trip can bring about an upsurge in fortunes.