Sandiva laid down her Classic credentials in the Lanwades Stud Nell Gwyn Stakes at Newmarket, although bookmakers were not overly scared by the performance, trimming her odds from 20-1 to 16-1 for next month’s 1,000 Guineas.
The daughter of Footstepsinthesand was positioned in midfield under a confident Frankie Dettori ride and had too much class for Euro Charline and the well-supported Majeyda when push came to shove. The Richard Fahey-trained filly finished runner-up in the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot as a juvenile and has clearly trained on following a decent performance in the Prix Marcel Boussac at Longchamp in October.
The 7-2 favourite shaped as though she would be suited to the extra yardage in the fillies’ Classic on 4 May as she stayed on well to hold the fast-finishing Marco Botti representative by half a length, claiming Group 3 honours with Dettori performing a first flying dismount of the season in the winner’s enclosure.
Dettori said: “Where she was drawn was a one or two-length disadvantage and there was no cover, so it was a good performance. She is entitled to go to the Guineas with a good chance.”
True Story looked every inch a horse with a bright future when landing the Listed ebm-papst Feilden Stakes in good style.
Saeed bin Suroor’s Manduro colt arrived at HQ boasting fancy entries in the Qipco 2,000 Guineas, the Betfred Dante Stakes and the Investec Derby and could hardly have been more impressive in beating the well-touted Obliterator by seven lengths. Silvestre de Sousa positioned the 5-2 chance in midfield and, although he appeared to come off the bridle for a split second when the pace quickened, he got better the further he went.
Earlier, Magnus Maximus was a surprise 25-1 winner of the £100,000 Tattersalls Millions 3-Y-O Sprint, giving Richard Hannon his biggest winner as a trainer since taking over from his father and the trainer doubled up when Shifting Power justified 13-8 favouritism in the Listed CSP European Free Handicap. Ryan Moore was at his action-packed best on the unbeaten colt and he rallied well to get back up by a head from Mushir.
At Newmarket today, Hannon’s Toormore gets the chance to cement his Classic claims as he puts his unbeaten record on the line in the Novae Bloodstock Craven Stakes. The Arakan colt won on each of his three competitive appearances as a juvenile, completing the hat-trick with a runaway victory in the Group One National Stakes at the Curragh in mid-September. Toormore is odds-on to make a winning return against five rivals but Tim Palin, racing manager for owners Middleham Park, said: “We’re all looking forward to taking him out of the cotton wool and getting him back on the racecourse. The first point to make is it’s not all about tomorrow. The Craven is exactly what is says on the tin – a trial.
“Plenty of Guineas horses have been beaten in their trials, including Sky Lantern (winner of the 1,000 Guineas) in the Nell Gwyn last year. We’re not looking to make a big, bold statement and this is just a step on the route to May 3. Statements should be made on the big days.”
Toormore is one of two runners for Hannon, who also saddles by Anjaal. The horse rated the biggest threat to the Hannon pair is Godolphin’s Be Ready, who looked the part when running out a striking winner of a Listed prize at Doncaster last September.