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The Coral Challenge

Previewing one of Saturday's feature races, the Coral Challenge, is the talented Ronan Groome. You'll find him on Twitter, @ronangroome20

Sandown 2.40 – Coral Challenge Handicap

This is a typically competitive Saturday handicap race and if the 17 runners hold up for the each-way terms, the form is worth getting stuck into. I like to take on horses like Trade Commissioner in these kind of contests because they are often priced up so short because of the connections and breeding aspects. Trade Commissioner looked good previously and with just four runs, is progressive, but is he really a 5/2 shot? I’m not so sure.

The two horses I like are Spa’s Dancer and Captain Bertie. The former is a Sandown specialist of sorts, handles soft ground and comes here off the back of a career best run at the Curragh last time. However Ed de Giles’s gelding is up 13lbs since his last win and the handicapper might just have caught him.

Captain Bertie is my preference at around 10/1. Charles Hills’s runner was gelded prior to this campaign and has come back an improved horse. He would have won the Spring Mile on his first start but for ridiculous luck in running, but he was able to make up for that on his next run in the Spring Cup where he beat two subsequent winners and two classy types in Fury and Global Village. You have to forgive his run in the Hunt Cup (11th beaten 6ls) but that is easily done as he is still progressive as a four-year-old with just 13 starts. The ground was soft when he won the Spring Cup and a return to underfoot conditions could account for the 8lb rise he received for that impressive win.

There are a load of other interesting horses here with Con Artist being the pick of the rest for me. The Godolphin horse has performed admirably and significantly is dropped in trip here. He does however carry top weight on soft ground, and the problem that he has to front run in a highly competitive handicap at this level still remains.

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