Highbank could test his Classic potential in next month’s Solario Stakes after making a victorious racecourse bow at Newmarket on Saturday.
The Charlie Appleby-trained colt was installed as a 33-1 shot for next year’s 2000 Guineas by Betfair after he made short work of seven rivals in the Discover Newmarket British EBF Maiden Stakes.
Partnered by Jack Mitchell, Highbank (4-1) was held up in the early stages of the seven-furlong contest, but when Mitchell gave the signal, he picked up in style and cruised home three and three-quarter lengths ahead of stablemate Bold Act, with favourite The Parent back in third.
The Kingman colt could now step up to Group Three company in the Solario at Sandown on August 20.
Appleby said: “He is a horse that we have got a bit of experience with the family with having had (half-brother) Bay Of Poets.
“Whatever he did today, there was going to be marked improvement. He had done some good work at home but I said to Jack (Mitchell) ‘teach him to race the right way’. Today was a learning day but his class prevailed.
“He travelled very well and picked up well. I’ve not had chance to speak to Jack but visually it was impressive. We liked the second horse as well, so hopefully that is a useful pointer.
“We will probably look at something like the Solario Stakes and that option is there. I need to get back and have a chat with the lads before making any firm decisions.”
St Leger entry Francesco Clemente maintained his unbeaten record with a nine-length verdict in the ForexVox Handicap.
Trained by John and Thady Gosden, Francesco Clemente won the Wood Ditton on his racecourse bow in April before following up in a Sandown novice and he was thoroughly impressive as the 2-7 favourite in this 10-furlong affair.
Taking on three older rivals, he cruised to the front under Robert Havlin and stretched clear in effortless style, prompting Betfair to shorten him slightly to 6-1 for next month’s Great Voltigeur Stakes, while leaving him as a 12-1 chance for the Leger in September.
Havlin said: “He is a horse that has just taken forever for the penny to drop but he is a horse with lots of ability.
“I would hope he would have sharpened up after that but we hoped after his first and second run that he would have sharpened up a bit more than he did.
“The problem with him is that he is just in dreamland the whole time. We’ve always thought a lot of him and he has always had the gears, as he has shown some lovely pieces of work.
“We were almost disappointed the last day that he didn’t win better than he did. When he hit the front today he really pricked his ears, so the penny is dropping.
“We have just been taking baby steps but the engine is there.”
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