Andrew Balding’s horses are in ripe form at present and Coltrane backed up his Ascot Stakes success at the Royal meeting with a convincing display in the Coral Marathon at Sandown Park.
Not So Sleepy set out to make the two-mile heat a severe test, but when that one faded, Rob Hornby’s patient ride aboard the 5/2 favourite paid off as he drew away from stablemate Silence Please with two furlongs to race and scored by 10 lengths from the staying-on Rodrigo Diaz. Calling The Wind was a further three quarters of a length back in third.
Balding may look towards the Melbourne Cup with the five-year-old, who has overcome a tendon injury which saw him miss the bulk of last season.
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Balding said: “They are finding a bit of form. He is a great horse, this. He has been threatening to get his confidence back because he had a nasty injury which has just taken him a couple of runs to find his confidence.
“He won the Melrose and was very impressive that day, and he looked right back to his best there.
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“Australia is a possibility. He has had joint surgery and seems sound now. He will certainly have an entry, but it is something we will have to assess nearer the time. He is in the Goodwood Cup and that is a possibility. Lonsdale, Doncaster Cup, all those sort of races (are potential targets).”
William Buick is inching towards his first jockeys’ title and he made it 86 for the season as One Nation spearheaded a Godolphin one-two in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Novice Stakes.
William Buick and One Nation (white cap) win at Sandown
The Charlie Appleby-trained winner (11/8 favourite) wore down stablemate Golden Speech (10/1) to score by half a length in the seven-furlong contest, going one better than on his second start over course and distance 21 days ago.
Stormbuster stuck on well for third, a length and a half further back.
Buick, who will partner Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Native Trail for Appleby in Saturday’s mouthwatering renewal of the Coral-Eclipse, said of the winner: “He put his experience to good use and got the job done.
“He was very slowly away the last time he ran and that conspired against him over a sharp seven (furlongs). He has been third second and then won, so three good runs.”
Breeders’ Cup on the agenda for Rocket Rodney
Newmarket handler George Scott has a slew of options for talented sprinter Rocket Rodney – including a tilt at the Breeders’ Cup – after the Shaikh Nassar-owned colt powered to victory in the Coral Dragon Stakes at Sandown.
The son of Dandy Man, who was an excellent second to Little Big Bear in the Windsor Castle at Royal Ascot, was sent off the even-money favourite for the five-furlong Listed event.
Rocket Rodney tracked main market rival Eddie’s Boy, but Daniel Muscutt barely moved a muscle as he drew upsides a furlong and a half out and strode clear to beat the staying-on Cuban Mistress by two-and-a-half lengths.
Scott will now head to Goodwood for the Molcomb and is also eyeing the Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland in November, with potentially a run in the Gimcrack at York in between.
Rocket Rodney stretches clear to win the Listed Dragon Stakes at Sandown on Friday
Scott said: “He is a horse that has shown plenty at home from day one. We went to Royal Ascot thinking we had a chance of running a big race, but to go and bump into Aidan’s (O’Brien) horse, it was obviously frustrating and he got beat by a better horse on the day.
“I felt like Ascot made a man of him. He came back a different persona and it reflected in his run today.
“At Royal Ascot winning is everything, but if you have a young horse to look forward to, you can walk away excited as well. I think he will be a better horse with something to aim at. He is one of the most laid-back horses I have ever trained. He doesn’t do too much until he’s asked.
“He will go to the Molcomb provided he is in good order. He has already shown a liking for the track and nearly broke the track record on his second start.”
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On the possibility of a trip to Keeneland, Scott added: “That was a bit of a trial for him. Dandy Man is not a nominated stallion so we had to pay 20 grand to get him in the Breeders’ Cup and I said that if he won like that today, he would be nominated for the new race – the five-furlong race on the undercard.
“We might try something like a Gimcrack – a flat six (furlongs), I might put him in the Gimcrack.
“Everyone is keen to push distances, but this is a fast horse and we will try to keep him as a fast horse for as long as possible. It is just that the five-furlong programme dries up ever so slightly.”