Sandown is a right handed track of about thirteen furlongs with a half a mile home straight. There is a gradual climb to the finishing post which often produces some dramatic finishes. It provides a stiff test for steeplechasers due to the Railway fences, a line of three fences close together in the back straight. Front runners have a good record on the chase track, although the run-in can be very demanding in soft ground.
The flat course is basically a fair, galloping track but runners can sometimes come over to the stands side in very soft ground. The draw bias is worth considering when assessing Sandown tips for today. There is an advantage in being drawn low in sprint races on soft ground. Low numbers also hold sway on the seven furlong course which has a tight right hand turn.
Sandown is one of the leading dual purpose racecourses in Britain, staging top class racing under both codes. It is situated in Esher in Surrey in the outer suburbs of London. Road users should exit the M25 at Junction 10. The course is clearly sign posted on the A3 via the A307 exit. Esher Railway Station is only a ten minute walk from the racecourse and a free shuttle bus operates on race days.
Sandown Horse Racing History
Sandown Park opened in 1875 and was the first racecourse in the United Kingdom to be purpose built. It was also among the first racecourses to charge an admission fee. The earliest meetings featured the National Hunt Chase and the Grand International Chase, the latter eclipsing even the Grand National in terms of prize money.
In 1957 Whitbread Brewers sponsored a new steeplechase to be called The Whitbread Gold Cup. It was the first commercial sponsorship in British sport and endured until 2001. The race is now run as The Bet365 Chase. Sandown Park is owned and run by The Jockey Club.
Sandown hosts meetings throughout the year with five Grade one steeplechases and the Group 1 Eclipse Stakes on the flat.
The Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle is the highlight of the January meeting with the Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase the top feature in February. The competitive two-day Imperial Cup meeting comes on the eve of the Cheltenham Festival in March.
The April meeting signals the end of the official National Hunt season and the start of Sandown’s flat season. The flat and National Hunt races used to make up a mixed card but are now on separate days.
There is a top quality evening meeting at Sandown in May featuring the Henry II Stakes, a recognised Ascot Gold Cup Trial. The only Group 1 flat race at the venue is the Coral Eclipse Stakes in July. There are two further Group races at the track in August with the Atalanta Stakes and Solario Stakes. The Grade 1 Tingle Creek Chase is the feature event that closes out the year at the two-day meeting in December.
The Coral Eclipse Stakes carries prize money of £750,000 and is for three-year-olds and upwards over ten furlongs. The race is named after the great racehorse who won 18 races and is estimated to feature in 95 per cent of all living thoroughbreds.
It is one of the most prestigious races in the International calendar and often produces an intriguing clash between the generations. The distance can also tempt a good mixture of the top milers and genuine one and a half mile horses. The Group 3 Gordon Richards Stakes and Brigadier Gerard Stakes are both over the same distance. The Sandown Classic Trial has produced several Derby winners in its time.
The two top National Hunt races are the Tingle Creek Chase and the Celebration Chase, both over two miles. They frequently attract the top horses from the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. There are always plenty of Sandown horse racing tips for the Bet365 Chase, a Grade 3 handicap over three miles and five furlongs. It is the last big staying handicap chase of the season. The Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase (two and a half miles) and Henry VII Novices’ Chase (two miles) are significant trials for the top novice events at Cheltenham.
The Eclipse was first run in 1886 and has been won by many great racehorses. Five horses have won the race twice, most recently Mtoto (1987 and 1988) and Halling (1995 and 1996). The victory of Ulysses in 2017 provided trainer Sir Michael Stoute with a record-equalling sixth Eclipse Stakes winner. Derby winners Mill Reef (1971), Nashwan (1989), Sea The Stars (2009) and Golden Horn (2015) all successfully dropped back in distance to win here. Other notable winners include Brigadier Gerard (1972), Wollow (1976), Pebbles (1985), Dancing Brave (1986) and Hawk Wing (2002).
The Sandown Classic Trial went through a golden period between 1979 and 1981, producing three consecutive Epsom Derby winners. Troy (1979) and Henbit (1980) won for Dick Hern and Willie Carson. In 1981 Shergar won for Stoute and Walter Swinburn before going on to win the Derby by a record ten lengths margin. Trainer John Gosden is at the top of the list of Sandown racing tips for this race. He has won the Classic Trial a record nine times. Ironically, the only horse of his to go on to win the Derby was Benny The Dip who was second here in 1997.
The Bet365 Chase was first run in 1957 as the Whitbread Gold Cup and the roll of honour features some true legends of the turf. Arkle defied 12st 7lbs in 1965 for Tom Dreaper and Pat Taaffe. Mill House won in 1967 while other popular winners include Diamond Edge (1979 and 1981), Topsham Bay (1992 and 1993) and Desert Orchid (1988). Diamond Edge featured in what is regarded as one of the most exciting steeplechases of all time in 1984.
He was attempting a record third win in the race but was beaten in a three-way photo finish by The Queen Mother’s Special Cargo. It was Her Majesty’s biggest win as an owner and she returned to the course in 2001 to unveil a statue of the winner.
Trainer Paul Nicholls has won the Tingle Creek Chase ten times including two time winners Kauto Star (2005 and 2006), Twist Magic (2007 and 2009) and Master Minded (2008 and 2010). Flagship Uberalles won the race for three successive seasons between 1999 and 2001 and was in the care of a different trainer on each occasion.
Sandown Betting Tips
The best horse racing tips for Sandown today must include Trainer Sir Michael Stoute. He has maintained a 30% strike rate here over the past three seasons and produced a level stakes profit. Roger Varian is the other flat trainer to note at Sandown Park.
Ryan Moore is the pick of the jockeys in terms of winners, prize money and strike rate. He outscores his rivals in all three departments and at a level stakes profit. Silvestre de Sousa and Charles Bishop are other jockeys to note on the flat.
Nicky Henderson has a 30% strike rate in all National Hunt races here. Gary Moore does particularly well with his chasers, as does Charlie Longsdon. Nigel Twiston-Davies has shown a big level stakes profit with his runners over hurdles and Fergal O’Brien is another trainer worth following over the lower obstacles. Jump jockeys Jamie Moore and Daryl Jacob complete our Sandown betting tips.