Big favourite The Gurkha looks set to Eclipse field

Racing Ahead
Racing Ahead

Our racing pundit Tony McCormick from has recently been signed up by, the world’s largest independent horse racing website, to share his daily, each-way Double-Dutch selections.

This week Tony looks at Saturday’s big race and Beverley’s two-day meeting. Bookmakers reported a flood of money for the Eclipse favourite The Gurkha on Tuesday, despite trainer Aidan O’Brien admitting that testing ground at Sandown would not be ideal.

The Gurkha could be backed at 13/8 on Tuesday morning but was no bigger than 5/4 by 6pm on Tuesday, while some firms took the decision to shorten the impressive French 2,000 Guineas winner to even-money.

O’Brien, who has five entries in the Eclipse, has yet to confirm that The Gurkha will run in Saturday’s contest but appears to be leaning towards letting the market leader take his chance.

Saturday’s Eclipse, which features two supplementary entries in the shape of Hawkbill and Countermeasure, will be the most valuable contest ever run at Sandown.

It may not be the most competitive race, though, according to bookmakers who report that The Gurkha is the only horse wanted by punters.

The course at Sandown is slowly recovering from the deluge of rain it received last week, which left the track waterlogged in places.

On Tuesday afternoon the soft places on the round course had disappeared and the going was described as good to soft, though unsettled weather is forecast for the next few days.

Beverley stage their two-day meeting on Friday evening and Saturday afternoon, here are a few pointers from this meeting over the last five years.

Richard Fahey has had a total of eight winners from 28 runners in that time period, seven of which were aged two or three.

Nottingham winners Private Matter and Dutch Art filly Clef, Newcastle runner-up Major Cornwallis and newcomer Vaulted all have entries over the weekend.

Trainer Richard Guest has had three winners from four runners in the last two years, including a double at the Friday evening meeting in 2015 and bids to repeat the feat with Chauvelin and Lady Joanna Vassa.

The handicaps at this meeting have been dominated by Fahey, Mark Johnston and Guest, while Tim Easterby, Ollie Pears and David O’Meara have had 13 placed runners.

On a another point, it was a case of déjà vu on Monday evening as the out of control juggernaut that is the England national team crashed through the barriers again, hurtling off Europe’s biggest cliff.

Coaches at club level are hell bent on the simplistic, monotonous, no-mistake football, while local coaches promote skill, individuality and most of all, to enjoy the game. We need to stop taking kids off the street and selling them and their parents the impossible dream at such a young age, with the longest journey ahead of them.

Leave them to play with their mates, to practice being Ronaldo and Messi, to contribute to their local clubs and if good enough at 15 they will be picked up, there is no doubt.