Sandown provides Ascot clues
A superb evening card at Sandown laid down markers for others to follow with Royal Ascot just around the bend and there were several stars on show at the Esher track on Thursday night.
Western Hymn knuckled down to land the Group 3 Brigadier Gerrard Stakes from an upped in trip Arab Spring and John Gosden’s charge, who perhaps hadn’t been given the credit deserved for a course victory on seasonal return, showed himself to be at his best and improving ahead of bigger targets to come.
Gosden reported “I told James ( Doyle ) that Western Hymn was spot on for the race. It was a grand performance and I was particularly pleased with Eagle Top ( finished 4th ) who wants cover in a big field. He goes for the Hardwicke and it’s the Prince of Wales’s for Western Hymn.”
Also on the night there was a remarkable return for Consort who on only a second start, and despite all sorts of trouble during the Listed Heron Stakes over a mile on the card, still ran away with what looked a competitive contest, under the guidance of Ryan Moore for Sir Michael Stoute and the Highclere Racing team. Sir Michael Stoute now naturally eyes the Royal meeting, ” I was pleased and impressed with the way he quickened, hopefully there will be an Ascot engagement.”
Notable performances from Hughie Morrison’s Vent De Force who took the Group 3 Henry II Stakes under a confident and well executed Richard Hughes ride from the front end and also from juvenile King Of Rooks who needed little assistance from Hughes to win the 2yo Listed contest over 5f and now will very likely go off one of the market principles for the Norfolk Stakes for trainer Richard Hannon. “I think he got the run of the race, he travelled lovely and had a good draw. Everything about him looks speed and he looks more like a Norfolk horse right now.”
Finally a nod to Frankie Dettori who was at his very best on front runner Jacob Black to win the Whitson Cup for trainer Keith Dalgliesh and return the punters home happy aboard the 4/1f.
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