Aktabantay leaves it late in the Solario
The Hugo Palmer trained Aktabantay left it very late to take the Group 3 Solario Stakes at Sandown, getting up on the line to deny 5/4 favourite Future Empire, who himself had left it late to make a challenge. With the assistance of Ryan Moore in the saddle, always a good thing when getting embroiled in a battling finish, Aktabantay returned at a price of 9/4 to record his first Group win on just his fifth start.
A good second in the Superlative Stakes at Newmarket last time, Palmer’s stable star seems to be improving with every start. This was just his second start over 7f and he needed every inch in the end, suggesting that he may be even better when stepped up in trip again.
The exciting Oasis Dream colt was held up in the early stages by Moore, before trying to quicken at the 2 pole as the leaders kicked for home. The response was not as immediate as Moore would have liked but having got lower in the saddle, Aktabantay began to respond to the brilliant jockey’s urgings to just get up in the dying stages.
Moore told Channel 4 Racing: “He got pinched coming out of the stalls and I was sitting five of five and we weren’t going mad.
“I didn’t want to go all the way round them. I got a nice split through but Lexington Times got away and pinched a length or two.
“It took him a while to get going too, I think he was just a bit green and inexperienced. Hopefully he’ll come on for that.”
Palmer said: “Ryan said he got pinched coming out of the stalls and had to sit last. That wasn’t the plan, but two down I thought he was going to win easily, but (Richard) Hannon’s horse (Lexington Times) kept galloping and it took him a while to get there.
“I don’t know whether he wants better ground or a stronger gallop. I dream and hope as we go up in grade they will go faster and that will get him going. You can see why I put cheekpieces on him to make him concentrate.
“It will be up to the owner and I know he is keen on the Dewhurst. I think he will be well suited by the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf over a mile in Santa Anita.
“Outstrip was third in the Dewhurst before winning it last year, so we’ll just see. He’s a Group winner now and he’s a valuable commodity.”
By Kevin Walsh / Photo: John Walton/PA Wire
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