Andre Fabre expects Fintry to put up a good show despite an enforced 90-day lay-off when she returns in the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association Atalanta Stakes at Sandown today.
The master French trainer has stressed the Godolphin filly will need the run after being ill during the summer but believes she will do herself justice on her comeback run, with the Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket in the autumn her main objective. He is also hoping the ground dries out for the daughter of Shamardal, who is burdened with a 7lb penalty for winning the Group Two Prix de Sandringham at Chantilly on 1 June.
“She’s been off for nearly the whole summer. She got affected by a serious cough, so she will need the race,” said Fabre. “Hopefully the ground will be good but it has been raining there this week. Apart from that she has been a nice filly with a good record and she will run well.”
Karl Burke is undaunted at taking on Fintry and the others with Odeliz, who was only beaten a length by Thistle Bird in Epsom in June before claiming a narrow fourth to Mango Diva in the Group Two Kilboy Estate Stakes at the Curragh last time out. “We’re taking on a French filly with a very good trainer, but we’re going to give it a shot and I think we’re going to give her a good race,” he said.
Richard Hannon is convinced Zurigha has outstanding claims on the form she has shown this season against some of the best fillies around. “The ground will be testing, but Zurigha did finish fourth in the French 1000 Guineas [last year] when it was very soft, so I’d like to think that she will handle conditions in the Atalanta,” he told www.richardhannonracing.co.uk.
Also at Sandown today, Hugo Palmer is excited at the prospect of saddling the highly promising Aktabantay in the European Wealth Solario Stakes.
Palmer has had this seven-furlong Group 4 contest in mind for the son of Oasis Dream for some time and reports the colt to be in tip-top shape. Aktabantay was last seen finishing second to the impressive winner Estidhkaar in the Group Two Superlative Stakes after getting off the mark at Newcastle.
Since Newmarket all roads have led to Sandown. “He’s done extremely well since Newmarket and I think the track will suit him,” said Palmer.
At Chester, De Rigueur will attempt to resume winning ways just a week after unsuitable ground foiled his chance of completing the hat-trick in the Betfred Ebor. Marco Botti’s seven-year-old had gone to York on the back of victories in quite valuable handicaps at Newmarket and Haydock. However, his bid for glory in one of the richest handicaps of them all was compromised by quick conditions and he trailed home behind Mutual Regard.
De Rigueur was not subjected to a hard race once his jockey Andrea Atzeni found his mount was not happy on the ground. Botti reports the gelding to have taken those exertions in his stride and has no qualms about turning him out in the Win £10,000,000 On Betdaq Colossus Chester Stakes on the Roodee.