WITH the weather set fair, Sandown is the place to be this weekend with its Summer Celebration taking place today and tomorrow.
This afternoon is family day and then tomorrow continues with more of a festival vibe and a DJ after racing.
Tomorrow’s highlight is the Group Three Betway Solario Stakes (3.45pm), which was won in emphatic style by Too Darn Hot 12 months ago.
That was John Gosden’s fifth win in the race, meaning he is now just one behind the most successful trainer, Sir Henry Cecil.
The previous year’s renewal was won by Masar who went on to claim the 2018 Investec Derby, so you can’t argue about the quality of recent editions.
It is impossible to know yet if there is a superstar amongst tomorrow’s seven declared runners, but the horse with the best form in the race is undoubtedly Clive Cox’s POSITIVE.
This son of Dutch Art bolted up by five lengths on debut at Salisbury in June and was then a highly creditable second to the excellent Pinatubo in the Group Two Vintage Stakes at Glorious Goodwood last month.
Admittedly, he was five lengths behind the winner, but the Godolphin colt is the 7/2 favourite for next year’s 2000 Guineas and there was a further five lengths back to Lope Y Fernandez who was very well backed on the day.
To finish second in a Group Two on his second ever start was a fine effort and if he has improved again since then the 13/8 available with Coral could look a very big price after the race.
Cox is a brilliant trainer, particularly with juveniles, and said after the Salisbury win that he is as good a two-year-old as any he has trained.
That is enough for me and he has to be the one for a win bet.
Next in the list is Charlie Appleby’s AL SUHAIL at 9/4 who the trainer will hope can follow in Masar’s hoofprints.
He ran well on debut to be second in a maiden at Newmarket’s July meeting, but then beat nothing at Yarmouth a couple of weeks ago when sent off 1/6.
Although very well bred and with a string of Group One entries to his name, he was keen last time despite Appleby putting a first time hood on him.
I am sure he is going to be a very good horse in time, but his form is nowhere near as strong as Positive’s and I think there should be a bigger gap in the prices between them.
Visinari is a bit of a head scratcher as he had the sectional time keepers practically frothing at the mouth after his debut win at Newmarket in June.
However, although far from disgraced next time in the July Stakes, he ran very disappointingly behind Pinatubo and Positive at Goodwood.
Mark Johnston said beforehand that he thought his horse needed the step up to seven furlongs, but there are plenty of questions to answer after that display.
Andrew Balding’s Kameko won over course and distance on debut last month, so he comes into this very much unexposed on just his second start.
That was a good display and if he finds the necessary improvement there is no reason why he can’t pick up some prize money.
With so little to go on from a form perspective, I will side with John Gosden’s ESHAASY as the third selection.
Well beaten behind Al Suhail in the aforementioned July meeting maiden, he got the job done cosily at Kempton in a novice event earlier this month Gosden has such a powerful stable that it is surely significant he is relying solely on this half-brother to 2000 Guineas winner Galileo Gold, who he has entered in races like the Champagne and Dewhurst Stakes.
Simon Dow’s Hector Loza comes here on a hat-trick, but is making his first start on turf, while Full Verse looks out of his depth.
Bill Esdaile’s Solario Stakes 1-2-3
2 Al Suhail