Race of The Day Thursday May 24
19:051 mile (1600m)

Matchbook Is Commission Free Heron Stakes (Listed Race)

Sandown Park

  • Current Favourite  Without Parole
  • Current Odds 4/5
Race Analysis Runners 9 Going Good to Firm Distance 1 mile (1600m)

Race Overview

This is a one mile £40,000 listed conditions stakes for three-year-olds only. It was originally run at Kempton Park but moved to Sandown in 2007 following Kempton’s switch to All Weather racing.

Nine runners have been declared for this race, a contest that over the years been won by the likes of Kris (1979), Kalanisi (1999), and more recently Proclamation (2005) and Zonderland (2016). The race is open to fillies as well as colts and geldings, but none contest this year’s renewal.

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Horse racing Frankie Dettori

Favourite Without Parole

Without Parole, the mount of Frankie Dettori, was considered a potential 2000 Guineas contender but bypassed that race with connections preferring to come here instead with this unbeaten son of Frankel.

Horse racing Sir Michael Stoute

Other Contenders

The likes of Sir Michael Stoute’s Gabr, Stephensons Rocket, Vintager, Dream Today and Petrus are all rated over 100, while the unexposed pair of Regal Reality and Silver Quartz could both prove useful.

Race Analysis

On a cracking evening card that includes three other tremendous contests – for further in-depth tips and analysis see Enda McElhinney’s preview here – the Heron Stakes is certainly not out of place.

I believe WITHOUT PAROLE is a potential smart miler and he is reportedly held in high regard by John Gosden. He hacked up by six lengths on his racecourse bow at Newcastle in December, then was even more impressive at Yarmouth last month where he conceded 7lb but still dismissed Ostilio by six lengths without turning a hair.

The runner-up has since bolted up in a good Newmarket handicap off a mark of 84, and with a bid for the Group 1 St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot next month in the offing Without Parole can take this and confirm his place in the big-race line-up on June 19.

Sir Michael Stoute runs two here, his 108-rated Gabr, beaten just five lengths at Doncaster last October in the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy won by subsequent 2000 Guineas winner Saxon Warrior, looks the pick of the pair. He is certainly respected, but is without a run for seven months and has never raced on ground as quick as anticipated. Stoute’s other entry is Regal Reality, the mount of Ryan Moore. He won his only start as a juvenile at Yarmouth last September in good style but needs to show much improved form to score at this level.

Ed Walker’s Stephensons Rocket, a decent two-year-old, raced freely and faded into fifth in a listed event at Newmarket earlier this month but a step forward is by no means out of the question, while Mark Johnston’s Dream Today, second in the Group 3 Autumn Stakes at Newmarket last October, has been off since then but his handler is a dab hand at readying them after a break. Any market interest in him might prove significant, as it would for the completely unexposed Windsor maiden winner Silver Quartz whose presence here is interesting.

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Betting.net Selection

Without Parole
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Betting.net Danger

Dream Today

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Paul Alster Betting.net

Written by Paul Alster

Paul Alster has been part of the British and international racing media for more than three decades working as a race commentator, TV/radio presenter, journalist, betting correspondent, SP returner, and form analyst. He’s always sought out overpriced runners in handicap races, a quest that excites him as much now as it did at the start of his career.