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Hollie Doyle blog: Marakova and Maggie's Way offer chance to strike at Sandown on Coral-Eclipse day

Hollie Doyle heads to Sandown on Saturday for six rides, including Marakova in Coral Charge for Ed Walker and Maggie's Way in the Coral Distaff; Sky Sports Racing ambassador recently rode her 800th British winner

Hollie Doyle
Image: Hollie Doyle heads to Sandown for six rides on Saturday

After riding a landmark 800th winner last weekend, Sky Sports Racing ambassador Hollie Doyle heads to Sandown for six rides on Saturday and reveals her verdict on the big race, the £750,000 Coral-Eclipse.

Sprint fillies ready for step up in class

After a few days on the sidelines through suspension, I'm looking forward to heading to Sandown on Saturday to find out how Ed Walker's lovely filly MAKAROVA acquits herself in the Group Three Coral Charge (1.50).

She looks ready for this step up in class after dominating the Listed Land O'Burns Fillies' Stakes at Ayr a couple of weeks ago for Paul Mulrennan. This clearly demands more, particularly against some battle-hardened colts, but that was only her second try at five furlongs and she's open to improvement.

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Later on, I partner William Muir and Chris Grassick's three-year-old MAGGIE'S WAY in the Listed Coral Distaff (3.00). Like Makarova, she is taking a leap in grade after winning a Nottingham fillies' handicap in early May.

I galloped her before that race and wasn't surprised to see her make such an impressive reappearance. William and Chris wouldn't be pitching her in this high if they didn't think she's capable of gaining some black type, so I'm hopeful she too can find the necessary improvement.

Merlin out to work his magic

The first of two rides for my boss Imad Alsagar is the progressive MERLIN THE WIZARD in the Coral Racing Club Handicap (4.50).

Harry and Roger Charlton have this son of Camelot thriving at present, as he showed us on handicap debut at Ffos Las a couple of weeks ago. He's up 6lb for that success in a better class race, but he's very much on the upgrade and this will give us a good indication of where we stand with him after only five career starts.

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A little later, the Andrew Balding-trained RIBAL returns to action for the first time since being gelded in the Coral 'Get Closer To The Action' Handicap (5.25).

He's a horse we have always thought a lot of, so it was disappointing that he ran so badly at Redcar in early May. It's still early days for him after only four starts, so this is an opportunity for him to prove that all wrong.

Light weight can help Sceptic step up again

I'm doing just 8st 2lb to ride the in-form SCEPTIC for Andrew Balding in the Coral Challenge Handicap (2.25) at Sandown, and I expect him to go well.

He's still lightly raced and arrives on the back of a comfortable win over a mile at Goodwood last month, so we have to be hopeful he can take the step up in grade in his stride. The draw hasn't been helpful though - we're stuck out in stall 14.

The draw won't make my task any easier on Alan King's PARADIAS in the Coral Play 'Racing-Super-Series' For Free Handicap (4.15) either.

He's a gelding with a good attitude to his work, as he proved in spades when winning a course-and-distance handicap for me last month off a 5lb lower mark. He knows how to battle, and that's something he will have to do on Saturday.

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Paddington has edge in tactical showdown

Saturday's big race, the £750,000 Coral-Eclipse (3.40), is going to be tactical with only four runners, but Aidan O'Brien's St James's Palace Stakes winner Paddington looks to have enough to overcome almost any situation.

This colt has made giant strides this year, winning the Irish Guineas before following up at Royal Ascot, and looks ready for this step up to 10 furlongs.

There's no doubt John and Thady Gosden's Emily Upjohn was impressive in the Coronation Cup at Epsom on her reappearance, but dropping back two furlongs in a potentially cagey contest like this might be her undoing.

Hollie Doyle was speaking to Sky Sports Racing's Simon Mapletoft.

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