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Background to Sandown Racecourse

Like Kempton, Sandown Park Racecourse is based on the outskirts of London, in Esher, Surrey.

It is another dual purpose horse racing track hosting flat and national hunt racing throughout the year.

The history of Sandown is that it was one of the first courses to charge entrants to come and watch horse racing. They have been racing here since 1875 and it was known to have bigger races than the Grand National in the early days.

Nowadays, it hosts five Grade one national hunt races over obstacles and has one group one flat race. It also has one group two race and eight group three races.

What is Sandown racecourse like?

Sandown’s similarities to Kempton doesn’t just end for us in its location to London. It also plays host to a number of big meetings. On a big race day it is a brilliant course. The atmosphere can be electric and attracts all the top horses, trainers, owners and jockeys. 

It plays host to high class racing both on the flat and over the jumps. Like most courses, it can be a little desolate on its low key mid-week meetings.

The national hunt course is regarded as one of the toughest around. This is mainly down to have seven fences in the back straight. The last three fences come very quickly as they are situated close together. Interestingly, whilst it is seen as a proper test, there aren’t a huge amount of fallers at Sandown.

Additionally, Sandown has a separate run in for the chase course and the hurdle track. The Chase course goes off to left for the jockeys. It is often said the hurdles course can be more demanding than the chase course.

What are the big races at Sandown?

Sandown plays host to five grade one national hunt flat races and one group one race on the flat.

Four of the grade one races at Sandown are over the larger obstacles and one is a hurdle race. The four grade one chase races at Sandown are the Henry VIII Novices’ Chase & Tingle Creek in December, the Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase in February and the Celebration Chase in April. 

Sandown also hosts the Tolworth Hurdle in January. 

Alongside the Grade one races at Sandown is the Imperial Cup, often hosted the Saturday before the Cheltenham Festival. Commonly, the sponsors of the Imperial Cup offer a financial bonus for any horse to win both the Imperial Cup and a race at the Cheltenham Festival.

The Group one race on the flat is the Eclipse Stakes run in July. Alongside the Eclipse, Sandown also hosts one group two race and nine group three races throughout the Summer flat season. 

How to pick a winner at Sandown

Sandown is a a big course and suits galloping horses. With a half a mile home straight, most of which is uphill, you need a horse that can see out the trip.

Additionally, Sandown also has a completely separate straight five furlong course which is also all uphill. You’ll be wanting to pick the one who will last the distance and tough it out. 

Traditionally, this means that it suits those that save a bit of energy for the finish. With an uphill climb to the finis, you’ll want a bit in reserve to fly past those that have gone too quick out front.

Front runners don’t tend to be overly successful at Sandown however, it depends how tough they are. Some seem to stretch out when out in front if they have run the opposition ragged. However, if they have gone too quick and those getting cover still have some in reserve, they are there for the taking.

Sandown draw bias

The separate five furlong course is said to favour those drawn low. The Sandown horse racing stats suggest that this is particularly prevalent when the ground is soft or worse. You’ll often see horses running in separate groups either side of the track. 

The seven furlong start sees the race go round a bend and into the four furlong home straight. Therefore, horses drawn low will have a distinct advantage as they have shorter to travel. This is major Sandown horse racing trend and one worth making a note of.

Anything over seven furlongs seems to have no draw bias at Sandown. This is presumably as jockeys have time to position themselves before the upcoming bend.

Favourites have a decent record on the flat at Sandown. In the non-handicap races at Sandown the favourites have a better record. The best is for the three year olds with a nearly 50% win strike rate in non-handicap races.

In the handicaps at Sandown, the win percentage for the favourites is less. At any age, the favourite is operating at about a 40% win strike rate.

On the jumps, you’ll often see a wide margin winner at Sandown. Those that are simply too good for their rivals and run them into the ground.

The favourites in the national hunt races have an even better record than on the flat. Over hurdles 50% of the favourites have won non-handicap races and over the larger obstacles, this increases to 56%. 

No favourites have won national hunt flat races at Sandown in the last five years. Additionally, the favourites also seem to do badly in the handicap races with percentages dropping to 32% over fences and 23% over hurdles.

Are there any jockeys to watch out for at Sandown? 

On the flat, the jockey to follow at Sandown over recent times has been Silvestre De Sousa. De Sousa is Sandown’s top jockey over the last five years. He has a 28% win strike rate and crucially, you would be £32 better off if you backed all his rides at the course.

The only other jockey in profit is Ryan Moore, who also has a great record at Sandown. 

James Doyle, Oisin Murphy and Jim Crowley all have win percentages over 10% but none would have provided a profit if you backed all their rides.

Over the jumps, there are three top jockeys at Sandown. The jockey with the best record at Sandown is Daryl Jacob with a 25% win strike rate. Jacob is closely followed by Jamie Moore and Nico De Boinville who are both on 23%. 

Interestingly, had you backed all of Moore’s rides you would be £23 richer. Jacob’s mounts would have also delivered a profit albeit slightly smaller at £14. Following all of De Bionvilles rides would have left you in the negative by £18. 

Therefore, the standout jockeys at Sandown at De Sousa on the flat and Moore over the jumps.

What trainers are the best to follow at Sandown?

On the flat, Sir Michael Stoute has a win percentage of 25% at Sandown. He is clearly the trainer to follow at Sandown and a pound on each of his horses would have returned nearly a £10 profit.

William Haggas is also one of Sandowns top trainers with a 24% win strike rate over the last five years. He is closely followed by John Gosden on 23%. These three are the standout trainers at Sandown Park. However, you would have lost money on both had you backed all their horses. 

For the national hunt trainers to follow at Sandown, Nicky Henderson has the highest percentage of winners on 26%. However, even with such a high win percentage you would still be operating at a £16 loss for every pound spent. 

Nigel Twiston-Davies is the best jumps trainer to follow at Sandown and his horses would have delivered a whopping £53 profit if you backed all of his horses. Twiston-Davies has a 21% win strike rate at Sandown Park so he is definitely one to keep your eye on. 

Philip Hobbs and Gary Moore both have a 17% win strike rate at Sandown Park.

A Twiston-Davies long shot is worth keeping an eye on for each-way punters.

How to get to Sandown Racecourse?

It is well known that traffic around Sandown racecourse is a nightmare. This is despite it being set in Esher, Surrey, a location fit for a racecourse. 

If you can get there by car there is loads of parking. One of the most famous questions that is commonly given a wrong answer for Sandown is ‘what is the postcode for Sandown racecourse’. 

It is best to enter Portsmouth Road as this is the main car park at the front entrance to the racecourse. However, be careful as there is a £5 charge at Sandown racecourse in the main car park.

Parking is free in the middle of the course but don’t be late is this will obviously close once racing begins. Additionally, you can’t leave early.

The nearest train station to Sandown Park racecourse is Esher train station. It is easily walkable and takes about 10 minutes on a busy day. There is a complimentary minibus on race days but it might be quicker to walk at the big meetings. 

For those London city-types, Esher train station is outside of the zones 1-6 and Oyster cards are not valid.

One final note of caution if visiting in the National Hunt season or the winter. Sandown often deploys frost covers so the walk from Esher train station may be a little longer. Normally you go across the course from the train station. Understandably they don’t want thousands of people walking on them before racing. Don’t cut it too fine if there is a chill in the air.

Whats the dress code at Sandown?

There is no official dress code for Sandown Park. However, this isn’t always the case before the big events and some enclosures will have minimum standards of dress. 

In reality, the Sandown racecourse dress code is smart attire is always encouraged. Again worth checking before you go as you don’t want to be that guy left at the gate.

What format do your Sandown free tips take?

A day out at Sandown races is not the same without some winners. Our free Sandown horse racing tips are a feature of our free horse racing tips page. 

Sandown Park comes alive on big race days. Similarly to Kempton, it is a very different place on big race days in comparison to the lesser meetings.

We look to post a horse racing trixie bet and a horse racing double bet daily. This might go through the card at Sandown or it might be our best bet at Sandown Park that day. We only put up the horses we think are going to win at Sandown.

When will you post your Sandown horse racing tips?

All of our Sandown horse racing bets will be posted the night before racing is due to take place.

Often the best prices are available early so be ready to get your Sandown bet on early. That is particularly the case for big race meetings where there is a lot of money traded.

We like a bit of racing at Sandown but can never understand why there are seagulls there. It is a brilliant course with a tough uphill finish. You’ll need to be on the best horse to win at Sandown.

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