Since 2008, the Bet365 Mile has been part of a fantastic 2-day meeting at Sandown, with the emphasis on flat-racing on the Friday, and jumps-racing on the Saturday.
The race started life as the Sandown Mile in 1985, when the brilliant mare Pebbles won the inaugural running. Since then it has been won by to-class performers such as Soviet Star and Paco Boy, with the latter winning twice for the Hannon stable which has won 5 of the last 8 renewals, and 7 of the last 12.
The race is only open to horses aged four or older, and the last 10 renewals have been won by six 4-year-olds, one 5-year-old, and three six-year-olds.
7 runners are set to go to post for the 2016 renewal (14:55 22nd April), in what could be a fascinating contest.
The 2014 Craven winner hails from the Hannon Stable that has enjoyed plenty of success in this contest. Usually campaigned in group-1 contests, it’s interesting that he’s 2 from 3 in Group 2 races, though must shoulder a 3lb penalty because of his last win at this level.
9 of his 10 starts have been at 6-furlongs, though he won his only other start at 7-furlongs. Highly-fancied for some of last season’s big sprints, but didn’t seem to have the pace, and it remains to be seen whether this sprint-bred horse stays this distance. Potentially dangerous if he does.
Rated over 30lb below the principals, and it looks likely that he may act as a pacemaker for stablemate Belardo.
Hasn’t quite delivered on the promise of his 2-year-old form, but started to look the part at the end of last season when getting to within ¾ length of the mighty Solow. No surprise he won his seasonal debut on the soft ground he relishes, but the uphill finish may well bring his stamina into play. Officially top-rated.
Breton Rock 11/1
Admirable 6-year-old who has won 7 of his 20 races, but he’s yet to win beyond 7-furlongs, and his stamina will be tested by the class of the opposition and the Sandown layout.
Dutch Connection 15/2
He’s another one who has looked better at 7-furlongs than a mile so far. Might stay better as a four-year-old, and stable have been red-hot in the last week or so.
Ran 13 times between March and October last season, but won just the once. Ran some crackers in defeat though, including when third behind Solow and Belardo, and it will be interesting to see if Ryan Moore can get a little extra out of him as he rides him for the first time.
Toormore, Dutch Connection, Adaay and Breton Rock may all be better at 7-furlongs, and it’s no surprise that the connections of Belardo look to have entered a pacemaker to make sure this doesn’t end-up a sprint finish. If is does end-up a stamina test, Belardo should be good enough to take advantage providing the ground doesn’t dry-up too much, and it would be no surprise if Gabriel chased him home as he did at Ascot last season.