Tag Archive for: Sandown

Prague could prove an incredible purchase for Cunha stable

Dylan Cunha could have an exciting prospect on his hands after Prague powered to an eyecatching debut victory in the Darley British EBF Maiden Stakes at Sandown.

The four-year-old colt is regally-bred, being by Galileo out of Cheveley Park Stakes runner-up Princess Noor, and was originally in training with Aidan O’Brien.

However, he had issues while at Ballydoyle and was snapped up at the sales for just 10,000 guineas by Cunha’s head lad Amedeo Dal Pos last year.

That could prove to be an incredible bargain, judged on the way Prague stormed home by four lengths at 40-1 under Jack Gilligan, claiming a couple of fair scalps in the process.

Runner-up Mutaawid is a full-brother to Mostahdaf, while third-placed favourite Chorus brought solid form into the race, having been a close third behind subsequent Listed winner Diamond Rain at Ascot last time out.

Despite his big starting price in the 10-furlong contest, Cunha told Racing TV: “It wasn’t a surprise, we thought he would run well.

“He’s been working really well, but obviously Coolmore sold him because he has problems, so we haven’t been too hard on him.

“We went to the horses in training sale last year and Amedeo wanted a horse. He took leave and walked around that sale with me and we felt like we were never going to get a horse, we missed 10 horses, and then eventually he found this horse and he was like ‘I’ve got my horse’.

“The budget was very small but he picked him up for 10 grand and it’s just unbelievable. It’s unbelievable to have your head lad in the yard, who works with you, buy a horse and do all the work, I can’t take credit for it.”

Sandown Races – Saturday 15th June
Prague ridden by Jack Gilligan (Zac Goodwin/PA)

A Group One-winning trainer in his native South Africa, Cunha added: “He’s a very difficult horse, he’s a four-year-old colt, a massive horse, but it just shows, we’ve been winning races with five and 10 grand horses, if we can get the type of horses the bigger trainers get, what can we do?

“We’re just not getting them for some reason, I don’t know why.”

A delighted Dal Pos added: “I’m happy because we put a lot of work into this horse. The stable is doing really well and I’m happy because it’s my passion and I dream every day for the horses to win like this.

“He doesn’t have big problems, you just need to give him the time and maybe Coolmore didn’t have the time for waiting, because they have too many. I’m lucky I could pick up this horse and today he proved it.”

Two Tempting and David Egan got first run on a whole host of fast-finishing rivals when just holding on to prevail in the Listen To BetMGM On talkSPORT Handicap over a mile.

It was a fourth win in five outings this term for the five-year-old, who went off as a 12-1 chance in the 15-runner contest and got home by a neck from Classic.

Sandown Races – Saturday 15th June
Two Tempting (left) ridden by jockey David Egan on their way to winning (Zac Goodwin/PA).

Trainer Jonathan Portman said: “This horse never ceases to amaze me. Epsom was fantastic and this was amazing. David gave him a lovely ride from a wide draw and he’s just a very tough horse. He just has a great mind.”

James Ferguson’s Prince Eric completed a four-timer when landing the opening Download The BetMGM App Handicap under William Buick at 9-1.

His three previous wins had come at all-weather tracks but switching to turf proved no problem as he beat Mr Monaco by a length.

Kieran Shoemark claimed a confidence-boosting win on board Spanish Blaze ahead of what promises to be an important week for the young jockey at Royal Ascot.

Most of his big rides in Berkshire will be for John and Thady Gosden, but he enjoyed a nice fillip when teaming up with the in-form Marcus Tregoning yard in the Win Up To £2M With Golden Goals Handicap over seven furlongs.

Tom Marquand enjoyed a late double, with both 6-1 shot Asteverdi and 2-1 favourite Coco Royale claiming convincing victories by significant winning margins.

Adaay in the sun well deserved for teak-tough Millman filly

Determined filly Adaay In Devon again showed great heart to cling on for victory in the Listed-class BetMGM: It’s Showtime Scurry Stakes over five furlongs at Sandown.

Rod Millman’s well-backed 11-8 favourite took up a customary prominent position early on under Silvestre de Sousa but it was clear from halfway that she was going to have to work hard for victory.

However, the three-year-old first saw off the challenge of the free-running Nighteyes and then the line came just in time for her to shade Flora Of Bermuda by a head.

That made it seven wins from 15 starts for Adaay In Devon, who has also been a runner-up on four occasions, including when second to Jasour in a Commonwealth Cup trial at Ascot last month.

That was over six furlongs, along with her most recent outing, when third behind Elite Status in the Carnarvon Stakes at Newbury, and De Sousa was always confident his mount would dig deep in the closing stages at this trip.

He told Racing TV: “She’s very genuine and she gets further than five, even a stiff five.

“The problem was we were probably on the worst part of the ground on the inside, that’s not the place you want to be when it’s raining like that, it’s better to be three off.

“With the way the race has panned out, with the draw I had, I had to go that way, but she’s just so genuine and very tough, so I’m pleased she’s got her head in front quite nicely.

“She gives me 100 per cent every time I ride her and every race she runs, she produces great form, so I couldn’t be more pleased.”

Dividend pays out handsomely at Sandown

Connections of Dividend are looking at a step up in class after an impressive victory against a number of blue-blooded rivals at Sandown on Friday.

The Dr Richard Newland and Jamie Insole-trained juvenile raced green on his debut under apprentice Gina Mangan when fifth at Lingfield.

But he learnt from that debut run as he came home two lengths in front in the hands of Rossa Ryan at odds of 50-1 in the British EBF Maiden Stakes.

Sent off the 5-4 favourite was Royal Officer, making his debut after being bought for one million guineas by Godolphin at the breeze-up sales. But the Galileo colt was no match for Dividend, eventually finishing fifth.

Insole told Racing TV: “No (not a surprise he won). I always thought he was a nice horse. That’s why we came here to Sandown. I thought the track would suit him down to the ground.

“I was a little bit disappointed with his first run at Lingfield, I thought he was very green early on. Gina rides out for us twice a week and I thought she gave him an educational ride and he was like a rabbit in the headlights for the first three furlongs.

“In the last two furlongs he was just starting to learn his job, so to now see him prove it on the track from what I’ve seen at home it’s very gratifying.”

But now the target is a stakes race after getting the better of a number of powerhouse yards, and Insole is confident there is more to come.

He added: “When you looked at the card this morning – Juddmonte, Qatar, Howden. You’ve got the massive superpowers in here. Massive trainers, so to win as impressively as he did.

“Rossa still thought he was very green, he was green around the bend, he was still hanging away from the horses. He said he didn’t do a lot in front even though it looked like he was pulling clear at the end, so Rossa says we have to go for a black-type race now.

“He’s a lovely, big, scopey horse and I think he’ll only get better as the season goes on.”

Millman hoping for Adaay to remember at Sandown

Rod Millman is hopeful the decision to forego an appearance at Royal Ascot with stable star Adaay In Devon will pay off on Sandown on Saturday when she lines up in the BetMGM: It’s Showtime Scurry Stakes.

A four-time winner from nine juvenile starts last season, the daughter of Adaay has taken her game to another level this term, winning back-to-back races at Bath including a Listed prize in April.

Having since been placed behind Jasour at Ascot and Elite Status at Newbury, Adaay In Devon would not have been out of place in next week’s Commonwealth Cup, but Millman is keen to get her back on the winning trail in Listed company this weekend.

He said: “We just decided to go there instead of Ascot. Obviously we’d like a bit of rain, but she’s in good form and hopefully she’ll run a good race.

“We’re dropping back from six to five furlongs, but she won the Lansdown (at Bath) easily enough over five and she’ll have a good chance in that race on Saturday, I think.

“She’s well in herself and she’s had a little break since her last run at Newbury as she’d been pretty busy up until then. We’re very pleased with her.”

Chief among Adaay In Devon’s rivals is Andrew Balding’s Flora Of Bermuda, who drops in class after effectively losing all chance at the start in the Group Two Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock three weeks ago when rearing in the stalls, eventually trailing home last of nine runners.

Richard Hughes, meanwhile, is looking forward to raising the sights of No Half Measures, who since filling the runner-up spot on her Wolverhampton debut in early March has rattled off a hat-trick with back-to-back all-weather wins followed by a dominant display on her turf debut in a Goodwood handicap.

“We had the three-year-old handicap at Ascot next week in mind for her (Sandringham Handicap), but I tracked the entries for this race and I just thought it looked a huge opportunity to try to get black type with her,” said Hughes.

“We’ll probably back her up quick at Ascot, we backed her up fairly quick at Goodwood and it didn’t do her in any harm.

“We’re hoping to get black type and any more will be a bonus. She’s so easy and goes on any ground, she’s straightforward and tries like hell.

“She’s on our side going into battle, which is great.”

George Boughey’s course and distance scorer Graceful Thunder and the David O’Meara-trained Nighteyes, winner of her last two starts, also feature.

Breeders’ Cup Classic ambitions on the agenda for City Of Troy

Aidan O’Brien has outlined the Breeders’ Cup Classic as the long-term objective for his Coral-Eclipse-bound Derby hero City Of Troy.

Last season’s champion juvenile may have failed to fire as an odds-on favourite for the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on his three-year-old debut, but any notion he had not trained on was dismissed by a sensational display at Epsom earlier this month.

With his star colt being a son of American Triple Crown hero Justify, connections have long been of the opinion that he could prove just as effective on dirt as he is on turf, making him an obvious candidate in O’Brien’s quest to claim an elusive Breeders’ Cup Classic success.

An early trip across the Atlantic for a first run on dirt in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga in late August had been mentioned as a possibility earlier in the year – and while that plan was ultimately shelved, with owners Coolmore instead targeting that race with Kentucky Derby runner-up and Belmont Stakes third Sierra Leone, O’Brien remains keen on a Classic bid come the autumn.

“The plan is for him to go the Eclipse, he seems to be well since Epsom and we’re looking forward to the next day,” the Ballydoyle handler told Sky Sports Racing.

“The long-term plan is that he could go to America and they (owners) have the other horse for Saratoga in America for a race that City Of Troy was going to run in.

“He was a little bit green in Epsom and we just felt that maybe he wasn’t ready for that (America) yet. The lads are thinking he’ll go to Sandown and he’ll go to either York (Juddmonte International) or Leopardstown (Irish Champion Stakes) after that and then he could head out to America for the Classic.

“We just thought he was a little bit babyish (to run in the Travers) and obviously when you go to America you need a lot of experience and you need to be ready for it.”

City Of Troy on his way to Derby glory
City Of Troy on his way to Derby glory (John Walton/PA)

Reflecting on his Derby victory, O’Brien added: “He’d never been dropped in in a race, he’d never raced around a bend and had never been anywhere like Epsom, which is very demanding at the best of times for seasoned horses, so it was probably incredible what he did.

“Ryan (Moore) gave him a great ride, he changed legs going to the line and took off again. He just clicked into gear again going by the line and Ryan was afraid he wasn’t going to get him pulled up!”

With City Of Troy heading for Sandown on July 6, his stablemate Los Angeles – beaten six lengths into third place at Epsom – will get his chance to bid for Classic glory as the stable’s number one hope in Irish Derby the previous weekend.

“We were lucky to have Los Angeles for the Irish Derby and we thought he ran a very nice race (at Epsom),” said O’Brien.

“We thought a mile and a half at the Curragh would suit him. He was ridden very forward at Epsom and still ran a massive race, so we felt he deserved his chance as first string wherever he was going to go next.”

Sandown Charge still on the agenda for Live In The Dream

Live In The Dream will head to the Coral Charge at Sandown on Eclipse day next after returning from his disappointing Achilles Stakes showing at Haydock with bruising.

Adam West’s Nunthorpe hero was a 5-4 favourite for the Listed event on Merseyside having gone close on his seasonal return at the track only two weeks previous.

However, he stumbled leaving the stalls and had to be picked off his nose by jockey Sean Kirrane, with West believing that is where the five-year-old suffered his knocks and ultimately put paid to any chance of winning the race.

Connections of Live In The Dream after winning the Nunthorpe
Connections of Live In The Dream after winning the Nunthorpe (Simon Marper/PA)

“He’s been checked out thoroughly and he’s got a bit of bruising on his off-side and lower rib cage,” said West.

“He actually hit the deck quite hard (leaving the stalls) and he had grass stains up to his knees when he jumped, when he caught the stalls or maybe one of the other horses caught him with a foot down the off-side.

“He’s not too sore, but it would have been enough to scupper a bold show like we had hoped.

“It’s just unfortunate that these things happen in racing. The headwind wouldn’t have helped but ultimately his confidence was shot – even though his class got him back to the front, you can’t win a sprint race after falling on your nose at the gates.”

With the injury not set to keep Live In The Dream on the sidelines for any significant time, West is keen to scrub a line through Haydock and continue with the course mapped out back to York for the defence of his Nunthorpe Stakes title in August.

That will see him head to Esher on July 6, where the son of Prince Of Lir will bid to go one better than his Scurry Stakes second over the course and distance back in 2022.

West continued: “He will come through it and he will be fine. The plan will still be to go to the Coral Charge.

“There is enough time to recover from that (before Sandown) but of course we will just take things sensibly.

“We’re hoping to go to Sandown and then on to York. It’s racing unfortunately and sometimes things like Saturday happen.”

Coral-Eclipse confirmed as next target for City Of Troy

City Of Troy will drop back in trip for his first start since winning the Derby, with Sandown’s Coral-Eclipse confirmed as the next port of call for Aidan O’Brien’s Epsom champion.

The son of Justify carried all before him as a juvenile, going through his two-year-old season unbeaten and igniting triple crown dreams for his Classic season.

Despite 2000 Guineas disappointment at Newmarket and subsequent questions to answer, City Of Troy was sent off the 3-1 favourite for the Premier Classic at Epsom, where he silenced his critics in style as he ran out a two and three-quarter length winner.

City Of Troy did have the option of following in the footsteps of last year’s Derby scorer Auguste Rodin by taking in the Irish equivalent, but owners Coolmore have now finalised running plans, with Los Angeles set to carry Ballydoyle hopes at the Curragh on June 30 and City Of Troy heading to Sandown a week later.

A statement on www.coolmore.com said: “Following discussions between the Coolmore partners and trainers Aidan O’Brien and Chad Brown, Los Angeles (Camelot) will take his place in the €1,250,000 Irish Derby field on June 30 at the Curragh, where he will bid to emulate his sire in winning Ireland’s premier Classic.

“European Champion Two-Year-Old and decisive Epsom Derby victor, City Of Troy (Justify) will drop back in trip for Sandown’s 10-furlong feature, the Eclipse Stakes, on the following Saturday, July 6.”

City Of Troy after winning at Epsom
City Of Troy after winning at Epsom (John Walton/PA)

Following the news, City Of Troy has been immediately cut to even-money favourite from 6-4 by the Sandown race sponsors.

Coral’s David Stevens said: “It’s fantastic news that the Derby winner and one of the most talked about horses for several seasons is to be aimed at the Coral-Eclipse, and City Of Troy is sure to be sent off a red-hot favourite at Sandown, when he bids to become the first Epsom hero since the mighty Sea The Stars to follow up in this clash of the generations.”

Coolmore also confirmed that Auguste Rodin will take part in the Group One Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot, while Kentucky Derby runner-up and Belmont Stakes third Sierra Leone will head to Saratoga’s Travers Stakes, a race that was also mentioned in dispatches for City Of Troy in the Epsom aftermath.

Promising Almaqam makes an impression in Heron Stakes

Almaqam knuckled down when it mattered most to secure a convincing victory in the Chasemore Farm Stud Staff Heron Stakes at Sandown.

Ed Walker’s colt had caused a few problems in the preliminaries to the one-mile Listed event, but turned in a professional performance out on the track to prevail by three and three-quarter lengths at 7-1.

William Buick was happy to flank the pacesetting Son early on but moved to the head of affairs when that runner lost ground by swinging very wide on the turn.

A furlong out, everything was to play for as Frankel’s half-brother Kikkuli and Ice Max tried to lay down a challenge, but Almaqam had lots more left in the tank and ultimately powered away in the closing stages.

This contest has been won in the past by some elite-level performers, including the likes of Kris, Kalanisi, Proclamation and Without Parole, and Almaqam was cut to as short as 16-1 with Coral for the St James’s Palace Stakes, although his trainer could opt to go up in trip at the Royal meeting.

Walker said: “I’m very happy, I was really impressed with how he hit the line so strongly in that ground. We were worried about the ground, I think everyone was worried about the ground, but he did it really well.

“I think 10 furlongs won’t be an issue, so we’ll see. That was a huge step forward, that was a strong race. I know plenty of horses may not have acted on the ground, sometimes those races can be a question of who acts best on the ground and you can be made to look better than you are, but he’s done nothing wrong in his career.

“He’s very straightforward, he’s a beautiful horse. I’m very grateful to His Highness Sheikh Ahmed (Al Maktoum) for sending him to me.

“It’ll be the St James’s Palace or the Hampton Court – I’m not sure yet.”

Of Kikkuli, trainer Harry Charlton said: “I’m very pleased with the run on that ground. He wouldn’t have enjoyed the going and I think a mile on better ground will suit him. There’s loads more to come.”

Royal Rhyme eases to Brigadier Gerard success

Royal Rhyme ran out a ready winner of the Chasemore Farm Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown under a confident ride from Clifford Lee.

Karl Burke’s charge justified his position as the 1-2 favourite by coming through late on to see off Certain Lad by a length.

After making it five wins from nine starts, the four-year-old remained unchanged at 20-1 with Coral for the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Frederick Larson surged well clear on Miss Cantik in the early stages of this Group Three contest over 10 furlongs and must have been 10 lengths ahead turning for home.

But first Certain Lad picked off the pacesetter approaching the furlong pole and then Royal Rhyme timed his charge well enough to ease past and take top honours.

Lee said: “I always knew I was going to get there. I got the leader quite easily, it was more the second horse.

“My lad was only beaten five lengths in a Champion Stakes and can run like that in his first race of the season.

“Possibly (Royal Ascot), we’ll just see how he comes out of the race. I’m sure Karl and Sheikh Mohammed Obaid will have a plan.

“We’ve got plenty of good horses and with a horse like him, like I say he was only beaten five lengths in a Champion Stakes. He’s entitled to go for a good race, it just depends where.”

Sweet William and Havlin on the mark in Henry II Stakes

Robert Havlin highlighted why he is a jockey in demand when partnering Sweet William to victory in the Chasemore Farm Henry II Stakes at Sandown.

Having claimed Group One glory on board Audience in the Lockinge last weekend, the veteran jockey remained in the spotlight after being booked to ride Ambiente Friendly in the Derby.

He was at his best when cajoling the John and Thady Gosden-trained Sweet William (5-2) into this two-mile Group Three contest late on before getting the better of a battle with Caius Chorister.

Ryan Moore set out to make the running on Metier, with Trueshan and Chesspiece also taking up a prominent position.

The order stayed much the same until the home straight when Trueshan moved on, but Caius Chorister and Sweet William were travelling noticeably better in behind.

That pair went on to pull clear over the final furlong, but it was Sweet William who just came out on top by a head.

Sweet William was cut to 16-1 from 33-1 with Coral for the Ascot Gold Cup and is 14-1 with Betfair and Paddy Power for that two-and-a-half-mile marathon.

Havlin said: “He didn’t really travel for most of the race, but the further we went, the more he came on the bridle.

Robert Havlin is having a great time of things
Robert Havlin is having a great time of things (John Walton/PA)

“We put a visor on him today just to switch things up and it was a reversal with Caius Chorister from last time, when she pounced on me.

“I was able to keep an eye on everything in the race from where I was.

“He’s a hard horse to get there late, because he’s not really got that much of a turn of foot, so I don’t know how much he’s actually had in the tank there but he’s very talented and he got the job done.

“I think the further he goes, the better he goes. He’s untested beyond two miles but for me, I definitely think he’ll get two and a half miles.”

Referencing the Derby, in which he replaces Callum Shepherd on Lingfield winner Ambiente Friendly, the 50-year-old Scotsman said: “It was like getting six numbers on the lottery, it came out of the blue.

“I’ve got sympathy for Callum. At the end of the day I’m not listening to anything that’s been said, I’m not reading anything about it because I don’t want it to distract me.

“I was (riding him out in Newmarket), I did two canters, I’ll do the same tomorrow morning. He felt good.”

Meanwhile, the Cauis Chorister team are looking forward to a rematch in the Gold Cup.

“She ran a really good race, she nearly won – she didn’t, but it doesn’t matter,” said trainer David Menuisier.

“It’s a prep race for bigger things down the line. To me she’s better on quicker ground than this sort of ground, especially at this level because it really tests her stamina.

“I am delighted, she really belongs here. People were doubting her which they are allowed to, I think she put them straight this time around.”

Owner Clive Washbourn added: “It’s mindboggling, I love this horse. We’re going to the Gold Cup and that’s that, we’ve got to have a go!

“She doesn’t like this ground so that was a really gusty performance from her. Good to firm is better for her. I can’t moan, as you know I bred her. She’s amazing.

“What a week I’ve had, I bred the winner of the 2000 Guineas in Germany (Devil’s Point). But I love this mare.”

Enchanting performance sets Ffrench Davis filly up for Ascot

Enchanted Empress overcame a tardy start to land the Listed-class Orbital Veterinary Services National Stakes at Sandown.

Hawaiian was sent off favourite to further enhance the excellent record of Richard Hannon senior and junior in this contest and he set the pace after breaking swiftly.

However, the market leader failed to last home in testing conditions, with the Dominic Ffrench Davis-trained Enchanted Empress staying on strongly under David Egan to beat Rock Hunter by half a length.

The 4-1 winner had edged out the same runner-up by a neck at Ascot last time out to build on an opening Wolverhampton success, and in doing so continued the great early run of results for promising young sire Sergei Prokofiev.

Enchanting Empress (second left) on her way to victory
Enchanting Empress (second left) on her way to victory (John Walton/PA)

Brocklesby victor Zminiature was another doing all his best work at the finish to take an eyecatching third.

“She’s a tough filly, she just got herself out of trouble as she sat back in the stalls a little bit and missed the kick,” said Ffrench Davis.

“She had the class and speed to get herself out of trouble. We always thought she was an Albany filly, but I think we’re leaning now towards the Queen Mary because she’s got sharper with every run.

“It should be ideal, David was very much of the mind that five furlongs at Ascot was going to be fine.

“She’s got a fantastic attitude, she hadn’t done a lot between her last run and Ascot and here and she was actually a bit fresh today.

“She took a bit of waking up in her first run, but I think she knows what it’s all about now.”

Dominic Ffrench Davis can look forward to Royal Ascot
Dominic Ffrench Davis can look forward to Royal Ascot (John Walton/PA)

He added of the Amo Racing-owned winner: “Kia (Joorabchian) puts a great investment into the game and he deserves to have a few good ones. It’s great to be able to build up something good enough to go to Royal Ascot.

“She seems to cope with any ground, she won on the all-weather at Wolverhampton, she won goodish ground at Ascot and it didn’t bother her here today. A good horse will go on any ground.”

Kikkuli out to master Heron rivals in fascinating Sandown contest

Frankel’s half-brother Kikkuli looks to take the next step in his career in the Chasemore Farm Stud Staff Heron Stakes at Sandown on Thursday evening.

The Juddmonte-owned colt carries with him the weight of an exceptional pedigree as he is by Kingman and the last foal out of Kind, the dam who produced the great Frankel alongside Noble Mission, Bullet Train and Joyeuse.

He made his racecourse debut in a Newmarket novice in November and was beaten two and a half lengths by Ralph Beckett’s Zoum Zoum, who went on to win a Listed race in France and finish second in the Greenham.

Behind them in third was Eve Johnson Houghton’s Balmacara, who reopposes after winning two novice events at Doncaster since, and in fourth was a particularly notable name in the William Haggas-trained Economics – wide-margin winner of the Dante at York and a possible Derby contender.

Kikkuli returned to action this year in another seven-furlong novice at Headquarters, this time prevailing by a neck with three subsequent winners behind him.

Kikkuli winning at Newmarket
Kikkuli winning at Newmarket (Bradley Cooper/PA)

He now makes the step up the Listed class for trainer Harry Charlton and will be partnered by Ryan Moore, as he was in his previous start.

“We’re looking forward to him, his maiden win has obviously worked out very well as I think there have been numerous winners come out behind him,” said Juddmonte’s Barry Mahon.

“It’s a jump up in class on Thursday, but we’re happy with the horse and Harry is happy, so let’s see how we get on.

“Hopefully it will be a nice stepping-stone to something better later in the year.

“He obviously has a lot of pressure on him, but he’s a lovely horse and I think whatever he does on Thursday he’ll be a nice horse later in the year and we’ll have plenty of fun with him.”

Kikkuli takes his name from the Bronze Age author of a text on how to care for horses, a relic preserved on a clay tablet that earned him a reputation as a ‘master horse trainer’ – meaning the name could therefore be a nod to Bobby Frankel, in homage to whom Frankel was named, or the late Sir Henry Cecil.

Elsewhere in what looks to be a red-hot renewal is Karl Burke’s Ice Max, the winner of both starts as a three-year-old having taken two mile handicaps by wide margins in the spring.

Remaadd (left) was third to Arabian Crown
Remaadd (left) was third to Arabian Crown (John Walton/PA)

Haggas has an interesting contender in bet365 Classic Trial third Remaadd, who steps down from that 10-furlong trip as one of two runners for owner Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum in the race, the other being Ed Walker’s Almaqam.

Remaadd finished third to the sidelined Arabian Crown over 10 furlongs at Sandown, but drops down to a mile on the advice of jockey Tom Marquand.

“It was Tom’s decision to run him over a mile, I personally think he wants a mile and a quarter minimum,” said Haggas.

“Tom was quite keen to bring him back to a mile as he was last off the bridle.

“The Hampton Court is the race I’ve got in my mind for him so it will be interesting if he is better over a mile.”

In a field of seven, Richard Hannon is represented by Son, who was fourth of 11 in the Greenham, with Jane Chapple-Hyam running Craven Stakes third Sons And Lovers.

Caius Chorister seeking to further advertise staying credentials

Caius Chorister is out to continue a good week for David Menuisier in the Chasemore Farm Henry II Stakes at Sandown on Thursday evening.

The five-year-old mare has improved out of all recognition since winning her first race off a mark of 53 in May 2022, but even so she took her form to a new level last time out.

She was narrowly denied by Coltrane in the Sagaro Stakes on her first run over two miles, seemingly crying out for the trip, and with the recent rain in her favour confidence in the camp is high following victory in the same Clive Washbourn colours for Devil’s Point in the German 2000 Guineas.

“She proved the other day that she can hold her own in the stayers’ division, she came out of the race well so I expect her to run another good race,” said Menuisier.

“Seemingly she is still improving and that is all credit to her, she’s unbelievable. Even in the Sagaro the other day I wasn’t sure what to expect, she absolutely stunned me.

“The owner was confident she would win! She’s truly unbelievable, such a superstar.

“Every time she steps up in trip she improves, she didn’t help herself by being fresh but she flew home.

“This time around the conditions are different and the others have had a run, Trueshan and Sweet William, so you would expect them to improve, but we won’t go there worrying too much about the opposition, we’ll just do what we can and hope that is enough to win.”

Alan King’s Trueshan still carries a Group One penalty which will make life difficult, while Robert Havlin, after picking up the Derby ride on Ambiente Friendly, partners Sweet William as usual for the Gosdens.

Prydwen won on All-Weather Finals Day
Prydwen won on All-Weather Finals Day (Richard Sellers/PA)

George Scott declared Prydwen, who has been a star on the all-weather recently, but the rain has scuppered his intention to run.

On an alternative target, he said: “He’s in the Northumberland Plate and the Gold Cup, but there’s nothing for him before either of those so it will be one or the other.”

Scott has also withdrawn Isle Of Jurra from the Chasemore Farm Brigadier Gerard Stakes. The four-year-old won four of his five races in Bahrain earlier in the year, but is another who needs better ground. He could be rerouted to the William Hill Festival Stakes at Goodwood on Friday.

Isle Of Jurra’s defection leaves four runners to contest the Brigadier Gerard in Royal Rhyme, Certain Lad, Elegancia and Miss Cantik.

Six two-year-olds are due to go to post in the Orbital Veterinary Services National Stakes, with Richard Hannon’s Hawaiian the favourite.

Dominic Ffrench Davis runs two in the unbeaten filly Enchanting Empress and the Wootton Bassett colt Reposado.

Dominic Ffrench Davis (right) runs two in the National Stakes
Dominic Ffrench Davis (right) runs two in the National Stakes (Nigel French/PA)

“She’s done nothing wrong. She’s a filly that I think is improving and I think she’ll improve again when she goes six furlongs,” said Ffrench Davis of Enchanting Empress.

“I think she’s the form horse to beat in the race and hopefully she’ll go very well.

“I don’t think cut in the ground will worry her, I don’t know how soft it’s going to get there but I think she’ll get six so if it makes it more of a test of stamina I don’t think it will worry her.

“The colt will improve again when he gets to run over six. We like him, he made lovely progress from his first to second run and I think he’s improved again.

“He might give the filly something to worry about. These two would be right up there with our better juveniles at the moment.”

Brocklesby winner Zminiature (Dylan Cunha) is also of interest, but Sonic Blue (Tom Dascombe) is a non-runner due the deteriorating ground conditions.

Upwardly mobile Ice Max has Sandown option

Karl Burke is undecided as to whether to let the progressive Ice Max take his chance in the Chasemore Farm Stud Staff Heron Stakes at Sandown on Thursday.

The three-year-old began the season rated 89, but two wide-margin victories at Bath and Musselburgh have left the handicapper with no choice but to raise his mark to 109, a full 20lb higher.

Burke and owner Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum are planning to step Ice Max up in trip at some stage, but the Leyburn handler is minded to give him one more run over a mile before heading to Royal Ascot.

Burke said: “I’m not sure if he’s going to run or not yet. Sheikh Obaid is keen to step him up in trip. I’d like to run him once more over a mile and then maybe run him in the Group race at Royal Ascot over 10 furlongs (Hampton Court Stakes).

“He’s progressed rapidly and he was very impressive last time out. I just need to have a think.”

Ice Max is one of 13 entries for the Heron Stakes, with Richard Hannon’s Son, the William Haggas-trained Remaadd and Kikkuli from Harry Charlton’s yard among his potential rivals.

Kikkuli at Newmarket under Ryan Moore
Kikkuli at Newmarket under Ryan Moore (Bradley Collyer/PA)

The latter is a Kingman half-brother to the great Frankel and having opened his account at Newmarket’s Craven meeting last month, could now test the water at Listed level.

Several unbeaten juveniles are in contention for the Orbital Veterinary Services National Stakes, including Hannon’s Hawaiian, the Dominic Ffrench Davis-trained Enchanting Empress and a couple of potential Irish raiders in Make Haste (Diego Dias) and Rock N Roll Rocket (Jessica Harrington).

John and Thady Gosden’s pair of Sweet William and Trawlerman and Alan King’s veteran stayer Trueshan are among the likely contenders for the Group Three Henry II Stakes, while Charlton’s Gordon Richards victor Okeechobee is one of seven in the mix for the feature Brigadier Gerard Stakes.

Okeechobee narrowly denied Desert Hero over the course and distance four weeks ago and could lock horns with Isle Of Jura following his profitable winter campaign in Bahrain for George Scott.

King Of Steel looks set for Sandown seasonal debut

Sandown’s Brigadier Gerard Stakes has emerged as the favourite option for King Of Steel’s seasonal reappearance, with Roger Varian aiming to return his Champion Stakes hero to Royal Ascot in peak condition.

The son of Wootton Bassett has a phenomenal record at the Berkshire venue, following up a narrow second to Auguste Rodin in the Derby with victory in the King Edward VII Stakes at last year’s royal meeting, when comfortably accounting for subsequent St Leger hero Continuous.

He returned to the track to finish third in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes during the height of summer, before providing Frankie Dettori with the perfect send-off when delivering a telling blow on British Champions Day.

The Carlburg Stables handler is now aiming the four-year-old at the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot this term and although the Tattersalls Gold Cup in Ireland remains an option, Sandown’s Group Three a few days earlier appears the preferred choice.

Varian said: “I need to speak to Kia (Joorabchian, owner) and really firm up plans, but I think it’s likely he will be here for the Brigadier Gerard.

QIPCO British Champions Day – Ascot Racecourse – Saturday 21st October
King Of Steel (right) wins the Qipco Champion Stakes (John WAlton/PA).

“He looks great at home, is training lovely and we’re looking forward to that.

“The Tattersalls Gold Cup is not off the table – I really need to speak to the owner and he’s in both and we’ve made no firm decisions.

“Royal Ascot is his big target and do we need to travel to Ireland beforehand? We will have to see.”

Meanwhile, Varian is still keen to put Matsuri in a Derby trial over the coming weeks, having missed the Sandown Classic Trial at the 11th hour on account of a dirty scope.

The trainer continued: “On Thursday, he cantered perfectly fine and looked a picture but he threw in a cough in between his first and second canter.

“Thank God he did, because we scoped him and he was dirty, he had mucus in his trachea, so I’m glad we found out on the gallops and not the racecourse.

“He’s a lovely horse and hopefully he can be out in a couple of weeks in another Derby trial of some description. I think he’s a horse with a bright future.”