1.50 Sandown – PESTO (nap)
The opening two-year-old maiden on the card is often a useful contest – previous winners including Royal Dignitary, Manyana, Cry Of Freedom, Cymric (Massaat second), Best Of Days and Red Mist – and this year’s renewal features a quartet of once-raced sorts aiming to improve on their first run and some interesting newcomers from top stables.
The selection, trained by Richard Hannon, is a nicely-bred son of New Approach who made his debut in a 6f maiden at Newbury back in May (5/1 chance), racing in midfield on the outer and shaken up soon after halfway, ridden and outpaced over two furlongs out, coming back near the finish as he came home eighth of 12 behind Advertise (beaten 11½ lengths). There is a good chance this colt will rate a lot higher than that debut performance in time, caught cold when the tempo increased soon after halfway, also racing near the unfavoured stands’ side rail. For all he finished a fair way off them, the first five home have all gone on to frank the form, the winner (who raced on the same side as this colt) successful at Group 2 level subsequently. This colt’s prominent position in the market that day was also noteworthy, his stable having introduced the likes of Canford Cliffs and Strong Suit in that race in recent times, it likely test of his own Royal Ascot credentials. It is quite clear that he wasn’t anywhere near ready for that sort of assignment, but he has been given plenty of time since and, now stepped up in trip and with the benefit of experience to call on, a much improved performance from this son of New Approach would come as no surprise.
Stablemate Ritchie Valens is a son of Helmet who made his debut outing in a 6f novice event at Newbury three weeks ago (16/1 chance), waited with towards the rear of the field and showing signs of inexperience, ridden over two furlongs out and staying on nicely inside the final furlong to come home in fifth behind Almurr (beaten 4½ lengths). It was a promising enough first effort from this colt, finishing off well for nothing more than hands-and-heels riding having shown his inexperience at various stages. He is bred to do better over this seven-furlong trip, shaping in kind on debut; open to improvement, this son of Helmet ought to be more competitive second time out.
The Ed Dunlop-trained Venedegar is a well-bred son of Dubawi who debuted in a course and distance novice event 20 days ago (20/1 chance), slowly away and racing at the rear of the field, shaken up inside the three furlong marker and making progress two furlongs out, unable to go with the leaders inside the final furlong and coming home in fifth behind King Of Comedy (beaten 7¼ lengths). This colt shaped as though fitness may have been an issue that day, though another furlong likely wouldn’t go amiss either; stable’s youngsters can improve significantly for a run (0-24 with that age group so far this season) and no surprise if he were to see things out better on this occasion.
John Gosden introduces a couple of newcomers here, the first of them being Beatboxer, a son of Scat Daddy who is the second foal of a maiden half sister to US 7f 2yo winner Go Long and US 1m 2yo winner Fun Factor out of a US 8.5f Grade 3 winning sister to US 1m 1f Grade 3 winner Trial By Jury and half sister to Grade 2-placed US 6.5-9f winner (including twice at Grade 3 level) Worldly Ways. This colt cost $650,000 as a yearling and makes a good amount of appeal on pedigree, the dam a lightly-raced maiden but a half sister to a pair of two-year-old winners in the States and out of a smart performer related to a couple of Grade 3 winners. He ought to make his mark at this sort of trip at two, and he comes from a stable that sent out the smart Cymric to win this in 2015 (had a few near misses in previous renewals); sire an excellent source of two-year-old winners and this colt is clearly of interest.
Stablemate Kosciuszko is a son of Australia who is the second foal of a Group 3-placed French 10.5f 3yo winner who was a full sister to Group 2/Listed-placed 10-12f Flat/useful 2m-2m 4f hurdle winner Drill Sergeant, a three-parts sister to 7f 2yo debut winner Sergeant Ablett and a half sister to two winners out of a smart 9-12f winner (including twice at Listed level) who was a half sister to Group 3-placed 7f-1m winner La Meilleure (later dam of Sholokhov, grandam to Solider Of Fortune and great-grandam to Intense Focus). This colt certainly catches the eye on pedigree, from a successful family albeit one that tends to improve with time and distance; possible one or two of these will be sharper, but interesting to see how he goes in the market in relation to stablemate Beatboxer.
The Mark Johnston-trained Fraser Island is a son of Australia who is the second foal of a smart multiple 5f 2yo winner (including at Group 3 level) who was a half sister to dual 5f 2yo winner Adham out of a maiden sister to smart multiple 5-6f winner (including four times at Listed level) Astonished and half sister to Group 1-placed prolific 5-6f winner (including at Group 3/Listed level) Bishop’s Court and the dam of dual 5f Listed winner Dazed And Amazed. This colt fetched €130,000 as a yearling at auction and makes plenty of appeal on pedigree, his dam a sharp, speedy sort who won the Cornwallis Stakes at two, while further back in the family are admirable sprinting trio Astonished, Bishop’s Court and Cape Royal. The seven-furlong trip should be fine given his sire is a stamina influence, and he represents a top northern stable not averse to introducing a useful one at this track (won the 2008 renewal of this race with a newcomer that scored at Listed level next time out); a very interesting contender.
Simon Crisford’s Noble Ancestry is a son of Dubawi who is the first foal of a useful 1m 3yo winner who was a half sister to 7f 2yo Group 3 winner Albabilia out of a 14f 3yo winning half sister to smart 8-10f winner (including at Listed level) Inchacooley. This gelding makes only limited appeal on pedigree, by a top stallion and out of a half sister to a smart juvenile at this trip but little else happening in the family in recent times. The main point of interest surrounding him is the fact he represents last year’s winning trainer, who sent out the smart Red Mist to make a successful start; even so, his representative this time around is best watched unless strong in the betting.
The Andrew Balding-trained Havana Rocket is a son of Havana Gold who is a three-parts brother to useful 7.5-12f winner Daaree (by Teofilo) and a half brother to 6f 2yo debut winner Tanfeer, out of an unraced half sister to useful 6-7f 3yo winner Ghasabah and fairly useful 7f-1m winner Manaal out of a UAE 1000 Guineas winner/1000 Guineas runner-up who was a sister to Dubai World Cup winner Almutawakel. This colt sold for €40,000 as a yearling at auction and makes some appeal on pedigree, a full brother to a useful AW performer and a half brother to a 6f 2yo debut winner, hailing from a good family that goes right back to the likes of Almutawakel and White Muzzle. There are plenty of first-time-out scorers in the pedigree and his sire has already enjoyed significant success with this age group, although his 2yos are only 3-64 at this trip so far; stable’s youngsters are also generally better for a run.