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Saturday Racing - Sandown Eclipse

It's an interesting battle at the top of the bookies' listings for Saturday's Sandown Coral Eclipse. Setting off at 15:45, there are only seven runners, but we're not convinced that the favourite is really such a dead cert as his odds make him seem.

That favourite is The Gurkha, whose participation was only announced on Sunday. Since then he's rocketed to the shortest odds, being odds on for the win just about everywhere. He's undoubtedly a brilliant horse - despite his year out he came on massively in the spring and his win at Deauville in the French 2,000 Guineas was magnificent. His second place to Gallileo Gold at Royal Ascot didn't shame him in the slightest, and Aidan O'Brien has a winning record in this race.

He's certainly worth a punt, and the best price we've found on him is 10/11 over at PaddyPower.

All that said, there's nothing in his running thus far that confirms he will go the full distance. His pedigree suggests that over a mile might be within his range, but he hasn't proved it yet. The front runner before The Gurkha joined the race in was Time Test, and again he has strong claims on being able to win this race. He's taken victory over this distance before at Ascot, and then again over course and distance when he gave Western Hymn 5lb and still beat him in May.

He should run strongly on Saturday afternoon, and the best place to back him is at BoyleSports, at a reasonable 7/2.

We have one more horse for your consideration, though. While the aformentioned have many strengths, The Gurkha is unproven over this distance, and Time Test is never quite at his best if the going has 'soft' in it. My Dream Boat, however, made steady progress last year and then moved up to another level when he upped his distance this year. He beat fellow runner Western Hymn over course and distance on his return in April, and showed brilliantly at Royal Ascot edging out Found in the Prince of Wales Stakes.

He goes well on softer ground and he's likely to find some cut on Saturday. We think My Dream Boat might be the one to back, and the best place to put your money down is Coral, who are offering a market leading 11/2.

Epsom Derby

It's Derby time again, and there's a wealth of talent lining up at Epsom for the chance to take their place in racing history. It's a wide open field too, with a number of horses that can make a strong claim and no one runner who looks like an out and out favourite. That makes choosing among them a tough job for any punter, and we've had a look through the field to help pick out the standout runners for you.

Currently just edging the way at the bookies is Wings Of Desire, a lightly raced but so far impressive performer who is brother to Eagle Top and The Lark and on the same line as Oaks winner Sariska. He took a narrow but well run victory down the outside at York last time out which suggested he is very much in the same class as his relatives.

He's going to be a big name for his stable in the next few years and he may well begin at the top by making his mark here. The best place to back him is at StanJames, who are offering you a decent 5/1.

An intriguing challenger is Cloth Of Stars. He has a great pedigree, and in recent races has started to show better than horses that had the beating of him a year before. He reversed form with Robin Of Navan, a Group 1 winner, to land the Group 2 Prix Greffulhe last time out, and he's shown great form on various kinds of ground.

We think he's got a strong chance at Epsom on Saturday, and the best place to back him is at Skybet, at a market leading 8/1.

Finally, a little further down the bookie's rankings you'll find Massaat. On current form he's every bit the equal of Wings Of Desire and Cloth Of Stars, having finished runner up in the 2,000 Guineas.

There's no guarantee in his pedigree that he will do well over this trip, but there's nothing that rules him out either. He's shown some good running and improvement in his races thus far, and for a horse whose latest effort came so close to landing his first Classic we think he's priced a little longer than he should be for this one.

The best place to pick him up is PaddyPower, at a very tempting 18/1.

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