Dark horse wins at Sandown

Came From The Dark (centre) ridden by Tom Marquand on their way to winning the Coral Charge (Group 3) (Registered As The Sprint Stakes) at Sandown Park racecourse, Esher.
Image: Came From The Dark (centre) ridden by Tom Marquand on their way to winning the Coral Charge

Came From The Dark registered the biggest success of his career as Ed Walker's grey just got up to deny Arecibo in the Coral Charge at Sandown.

The five-year-old only won one of his five outings last season, but since being gelded he has improved no end.

Unlucky in the Palace House at Newmarket, having won at Newbury before then, Walker had hoped to run him in the King's Stand Stakes at Ascot after that, but a setback prevented him from doing so.

Instead he lined up in this Group Three and Tom Marquand always looked in control.

While Arecibo hit the front with a furlong to run having taken over from Lazuli, Marquand did not even have to resort to the whip, riding out his mount with just hands and heels to reel in the King's Stand runner-up and win by a neck at 5-1.

"It was frustrating to miss Ascot, he picked up a niggle after Newmarket but fair play to the team at home and the vets, they gave me the confidence to drive on to today," said Walker.

"I was gutted to miss the King's Stand as I think it would have been perfect for him, but it worked out perfectly today and we can go for some nice races later in the year.

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"He's been frustrating until this year, I always felt he was better than he was showing. I think I took a year too long to geld him, that's been the making of him. It's all come together this year.

"He loves Haydock, for whatever reason. The easy six suits, so we'll work back from there (Sprint Cup), but I'm not sure where next. If we go to the Nunthorpe he might get too far out of his ground, so we've a bit of head scratching to do."

The winner was cut to 5-1 from 12s for the King George Stakes at Goodwood by Paddy Power.

Auria has the aura in Distaff

Auria looked a filly to follow as she continued trainer Andrew Balding's fine form with victory in the Coral Distaff at Sandown.

The stable had four winners at Royal Ascot, headed by Coronation Stakes heroine Alcohol Free, and Auria carried on the good work with a clear-cut Listed success over a mile.

Oisin Murphy had the daughter of Muhaarar in the front rank from the outset, before going on as they approached the home turn.

Auria (100-30) quickly went into a handy lead and maintained the gallop to cross the line two and a half lengths clear of Seattle Rock. Glesga Gal was three-quarters of a length away in third place.

Balding said: "She's a good strong galloper and kept going which is great. She was back in trip, but I think she will stay a mile and a quarter.

"There's a Group Three back here in August which is the obvious one, but we haven't ruled out going a bit further in time as well. The ground certainly does not inconvenience her.

"She was due to run in the Musidora, but she reared over saddling and cut her head so she missed a bit of work going into Newbury last time and she wasn't quite at her best."

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