Goodwood: Everything looks Dandi
Trainer James Given believes Dandino can handle the step up into Pattern company when he tackles the Betfair Gordon Stakes at Goodwood today.
The Dansili colt, owned and bred by the Elite Racing Club, has not put a foot wrong in four starts this term, winning competitive handicaps at Epsom's Derby meeting and at Royal Ascot on his last two outings.
Now he takes the acid test in a highly-competitive Group Three contest that was won last year by Saturday's King George hero Harbinger and is an important trial for the Ladbrokes St Leger.
“He's done absolutely nothing wrong this year - four from four - and he's very much improving,” said Given.
“His form has been franked all the time with horses that finished behind him winning races. It's exciting times.
“He's obviously got to step up into Group company and he's going to have to run well to prove himself at that level, but every in
dication is he should be. He's well and we're looking forward to it.
“It's a good race and a bit hotter than your average Group Three. It has the makings of a very good race. It's a good stepping stone.”
The field has been reduced to 10 with the news that French import Simon De Montfort will not be making his debut for Godolphin after the colt, trained by Mahmood Al Zarooni, scoped badly.
Connections of Circumvent believe the Tobougg gelding will be suited by the step up to a mile and a half.
A Group Three winner in France last autumn, he landed his first success of the season in a 19-runner handicap at Newmarket's July meeting.
“He's quite a versatile horse and I think he's going to appreciate the trip,” said trainer Paul Cole's son and assistant Oliver.
“He's going very well at home.
We're hopeful of a good race and he's come out of his last race very well.
“It's a hot contest but he's not a bad horse. He pulled a muscle up at York in the Dante and has not done much wrong. He's not been out of the placings in his life apart from York.
“He's a Group Three winner, but it's a good race. We will just have to see how good he is up against these horses, but he's going in there in great form.”
John Best is confident Stone Of Folca's blistering pace can come to the fore in the Betfair Molecomb Stakes.
The juvenile remains a maiden after three starts, but ran two fine races at Royal Ascot to finish fourth in both the Windsor Castle Stakes and the Norfolk Stakes two days later.
Best feels his youngster may even be good enough to tackle his elders in the Nunthorpe Stakes at York next month, but is looking for a good performance at this week's high-profile meeting first.
“Everything has gone fine since Ascot and we just hope his temperament stands up to it,” said Best.
“He did get a little bit worked up at Ascot, but as long as we can keep him calm and get him down to post in one piece, I think he'll run a very big race.
“We've booked Jimmy Quinn to ride him in the hope that he's going to be good enough to go for the Nunthorpe at York next month.”