Friday 20 August 2021 12:42, UK
Reach For The Moon takes the next small step in his attempt to leap up the racing ladder when he bids for glory in the Betway Solario Stakes at Sandown on Saturday.
The Sea The Stars colt, owned by the Queen and already third-favourite for the 2000 Guineas, has looked a bright prospect with a first career victory at Newbury preceded by an excellent run behind Classic market leader Point Lonsdale in the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Reach The Moon had no trouble in beating Harrow by four lengths to open his account - and the runner-up franked the form at York this week.
John Gosden, who trains the youngster with his son, Thady, said: "After Reach For The Moon won his maiden at Newbury we said we would go for the Solario. I've been pleased with his preparation and it is always a race that I like to target.
"It is a big step up in class for him, but hopefully he can handle it. The horse that was second to him last time won at York on Thursday and that all helps.
"He is progressive at this stage of his career, but he is still a very young horse and this is another stepping stone. He is a nice looking individual that has made a good start to his career. I thought he quickened well at Newbury and I thought both divisions of the race that day were good."
Michael Bell is counting on a change of tactics helping first time out Newbury scorer Great Max, who finished one place behind Reach For The Moon in the Chesham Stakes.
"He has got a bit to find with Reach For The Moon, who he finished behind in the Chesham at Royal Ascot. He looks a picture at the moment and hopefully he will give a good account of himself," said the Newmarket handler.
"He was quite prominent last time in the Superlative Stakes and that probably didn't help him, but he will be ridden differently this time."
Andrew Balding believes Star From Afarhh, the sole filly in the field, is more than capable of building on her debut success at Newmarket.
"It is a little bit difficult to know what she beat, but there has already been a couple of winners come out of that race, so the form is working out reasonably well," said the Kingsclere trainer.
"She is taking on the colts this time, but she is a filly that that has been working well and the seven furlongs at Sandown should suit her. She was very professional and did it well at Newmarket and her home work has improved."
The Martyn Meade-trained Cresta is expected to give a good account of himself after accounting for the odds-on Modern Games on his debut at Leicester.
Freddie Meade, assistant to his father, said: "We always thought a bit of the horse, he has taken time to come to hand but the last couple of weeks before his run he showed us some good things.
"We were pleased with the way he did it at Leicester, although he did quite a few things the wrong way round. He was slow away and he raced alone in the middle of the track, but the times looked good and he did it nicely.
"We thought it was worth throwing him in the deep end and see where we go. He probably wants a mile in time, but a stiff seven should be ideal now. Fingers crossed he runs well."
Atheby may be the only maiden in the field but trainer Jane Chapple-Hyam feels the son of Guitafan could outrun his big price tag.
She said: "He finished third behind a nice Godolphin horse at Chelmsford and he was steaming at home at the finish so the extra furlong should suit. It is a small field and he will be in the hustle and bustle if he jumps well."
Chapple-Hyam has a leading contender in Saffron Beach as she lines up for the other Group Three race on the card, the Betway Atalanta Stakes.
The New Bay filly has not lived up to the heights of her second in the 1000 Guineas, but she had a legitimate excuse for a below-par effort in the Falmouth Stakes last time.
"She scoped dirty after the Falmouth, but she has had a course of antibiotics. We re-scoped her after that and she was clear and she has been clear ever since," said the Newmarket handler.
"Adam Kirby can't do the weight and David Egan is at York, but we have managed to secure Hollie Doyle. Hollie came and sat on her on Wednesday and did a strong canter up Long Hill and she loved her.
"I'm happy with the way she has trained and I can't fault her. I think she will love the stiff finish there. She certainly does deserve more black type."
Last season's Group One Fillies' Mile runner-up Indigo Girl is expected to improve considerably for her comeback fourth at Ascot, according to Gosden senior.
He said: "She has only had the one run this year as she has had a series of niggles that have held her back. Hopefully she will come forward for her first run.
"She over raced a little bit and she didn't end up seeing it out. She is a strong-willed filly and as long as she puts her best foot forward she has got the ability."
Balding is hoping Auria can handle the step up in grade as she attempts to follow up her Listed victory over the course and distance last month.
"She is an improving filly and is already a course and distance winner. There is some rain around which will suit her," he said.
"She will stay further than this in time but she did it well here the last day but this is a much stronger race and it has been the plan since she won here last time."