The ITV racing team is bringing viewers action from Sandown, Chester and Beverley this weekend. There are two Group Three’s to look forward to at Sandown in the form of the Solario and Atalanta Stakes.
The Group 3 Solario Stakes is the feature race for two-year-olds on Saturday and it has an illustrious roll of honour with the likes of Oh So Sharp (1984), Redback (2001) and Kingman (2013). The “hot” favourite for this year’s renewal is the John Gosden trained Too Darn Hot. The supremely bred son of Dubawi is out of the high-class Dar Re Mi and made a very impressive debut when winning a Sandown maiden event by seven lengths.
It will take another step up in form if he is to win here but with breeding, form and potential all in his favour, a huge run can be expected.
Another member of the unbeaten brigade is Tom Dascombe’s Arthur Kitt but unlike Too Darn Hot, he has run twice and has already won the Chesham at Royal Ascot. This form is undoubtedly the best on offer and it’s up to all the others to improve past the standard setter.
One of the more raced animals in the field is Alan King’s Dunkerron who finished second in the Group 2 Vintage Stakes at Goodwood when last seen, seems to be improving with each run and may just give the favourite the most to think about.
The other horse to note is Richard Hannon’s Watan who makes a quick reappearance having finished runner-up in the Group 3 Acomb Stakes at York last week.
Selection: Arthur Kitt
The Group 3 Atalanta Stakes is the other graded contest at Sandown and is exclusively for fillies and mares. Sir Michael Stoute is the winning most trainer in the race with five victories Dabaweyaa (1988), Hyabella (1991), Wasseema (2006), Strawberrydaiquiri (2009), Dank (2012). He’ll be represented by Veracious this year and the lightly raced three-year-old will have the assistance of Ryan Moore in the saddle and holds leading claims.
Only six horses go to post in this but all hold claims with three of them winning their last two starts. Laugh Aloud is one of the more interesting runners all weekend as the classy daughter of Dubawi has her first run in 455 days. John Gosden’s inmate was an impressive winner of a Group 3 event at Epsom when last seen and it’ll be intriguing to see how she fares.
Another filly making her belated seasonal debut is Winter Lightning who has only graced the racecourse on four occasions, with three of these being in Meydan earlier this year. Saeed Bin Suroor’s charge looked very smart when landing a listed race but then flopped in a Group 3, so she’ll be looking to get her career on track here under Oisin Murphy.
Selection: Laugh Aloud
The Listed Chester Stakes is run over one mile six and a half furlongs and looks to be a match between Duretto and Here And Now. Both of whom have some smart form in the book. Duretto was the winner of a Group 3 two seasons ago at Newbury and added a Listed race over the course last season which put him right in the mix.
Andrew Balding’s charge ran a huge race as a 25/1 outsider to finish third in the Group 2 Princess Of Wales’s Stakes at Newmarket. This course regular is seeking his first win of the season and is the one to beat.
Ralph Beckett’s Here And Now was a runaway winner of a competitive two-mile handicap at York last week and looks to strike while the iron is hot in this listed event. The son of Dansili seemed to appreciate the step up in trip at York, so this slight shorter event must be a worry. However, he is obviously in rude health and will make Duretto work.
The remainder of the field is made up of Hochfeld, Top Tug, Dance The Dream and Cosmelli.
The Beverley Bullet is the flagship race at the Yorkshire track each year and has been won by some very speedy sorts since its inception in 2004. None more so than recent Nunthorpe winner Alpha Delphini who won the race in 2016.
David Griffiths evergreen Take Cover won the race last year under Tom Queally and showed that he retained plenty of ability on his last two starts when finishing second in the Group 2 King George Stakes behind Battaash and a sixth-place finish behind Alpha Delphini in the Nunthorpe.
Elnadim Star is eight years younger than Take Cover and may be the one to side with here. Kevin Ryan’s rapidly improving three-year-old won a listed race at Ayr in June to make it four wins in six career starts. The filly has already won twice over the course and distance which must give her huge claims of landing the prize.
Richard Fahey’s smart Mr Lupton has already landed a listed race this season and has run well in some Group 1 races over the last two seasons. He may not win as often as his ability would suggest but is certain to run well here and will undoubtedly have his followers.
Some of the other horses with claims include Final Venture, Mythmaker and Mirza.
Selection: Elnadim Star