Words and pictures by Sara Waterson
This venerable meeting, held on Saturday 24th April, marks the end of the National Hunt season, and is notable for being the most prestigious of only two to mix both National Hunt and Flat racing (the other is at Haydock). The grand finale, generously sponsored this year by Bet365, always prompts a carnival atmosphere, and this year we were blessed with glorious summer weather – and the warm sunshine brought out the summer finery and straw hats in droves.
Sandown is a pretty stiff right-handed track, and horses tend (on the jumps course in particular) either to love the place or to hate it – so 'course specialists' are common. The mixed meeting traditionally concludes the National Hunt season, and on the day it was notable that the previous year's winner was again contending in almost every race.