Sky Sports Racing presenter Matt Chapman has the expert verdict on every runner in Wednesday’s Sagaro Stakes on Ascot Trials Day, exclusively live on Sky Sports Racing.
There’s great history to the Longines Sagaro Stakes. It’s the first true staying test of the Flat season, where we look for clues for the winner of the Ascot Gold Cup in June.
They include Longboat, Sadeem, Double Trigger, Persian Punch and Estimate. And, of course, last year the mighty Stradivarius.
It’s hard to honestly say Wednesday’s renewal will produce a champion, but as always, it’s a fascinating event which throws up many questions to be answered.
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Royal Ascot Trials Day
Watch every race from Royal Ascot Trials Day, featuring the Group Three Sagaro Stakes, live and exclusive on Sky Sports Racing on Wednesday April 27 from 1pm
Calling the Wind
Trainer: Richard Hughes, Jockey: Pat Dobbs
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On ratings has a bit to find and as a six-year-old, it’s hard to see much more improvement coming, that said, this gelding has been in terrific form since landing the Goodwood Handicap in July.
His place efforts number a third in the Cesarewitch behind Buzz and a second in the November Handicap. Had a pipe-opener at Doncaster last month and he might well run better than his odds will probably suggest.
T: Ian Williams, J: William Buick
Absolutely bolted up in a handicap at Musselburgh last time out and thumped up from 99 to 108. Has never run over this distance and only three outings ago he was racing over nine furlongs at Meydan!
As a horse completely unexposed at this distance impossible to rule out, but my gut feeling is he will struggle at this level.
Andrea Atzeni riding Nayef Road
T: Charlie & Mark Johnston, J: Joe Fanning
A six-year-old son of Galileo, Nayef Road has knocked about in top staying races for a couple of years now.
His best efforts include a third in the Doncaster Cup behind Stradivarius, a third to the same horse in this race last year and a third in the St Leger to Logician.
Vulnerable to a star, but if he gets an easy lead, he won’t be that easy to pass.
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T: Hughie Morrison, J: Tom Marquand
Yet to try this trip but should stay. Beaten by star Trueshan on his return to action at Nottingham and that should have blown some cobwebs away.
Also has a fine second to Sonnyboyliston in the Ebor at York to his name. I’d be surprised if he took this but has only had 12 races so far and none over this distance, so might improve.
T: Brian Ellison, J: Ben Robinson
The relatively new kid on the block has a huge chance on paper.
Last seen when chasing home Trueshan in the Group One Champions Long Distance Cup at Ascot in October and his progressive runs before that included a decent fifth in the Melrose at York over just under 14 furlongs when he stayed on really well behind Valley Forge.
Only had 12 runs and could easily improve again as a four-year-old. Big runner if fit and ready.
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T: Aidan O’Brien, J: Ryan Moore
Four-year-old has only had nine races. His short career includes a staying on second to Kemari in the Queen’s Vase at Ascot last year and a third to Hurricane Lane in the Irish Derby.
Not disgraced also when second to Hurricane Lane, beaten a long way, in the Group One Grand Prix de Paris at ParisLongchamp. One of the most likely to improve going this trip for the first time.
T: Tony Mullins, J: J M Sheridan
Fabulous mare with a big fan club. Went from handicap company to land the Group One Prix du Cadran at ParisLongchamp in October 2020.
Since then, has finished second in the 2021 Ascot Gold Cup behind Subjectivist, although beaten a long way. Not been in fabulous form since then although easy to give reasons for defeats in Riyadh and ParisLongchamp.
Her Ascot runs suggests she goes on any ground, although clearly her best form in the mud. Class act.
Matt Chapman’s Verdict
So many ifs and buts, but if TASHKHAN is ready he might be the staying improver in the field.
Wordsworth is clearly of interest while it would be mad to ignore the gorgeous Princess Zoe.
Watch every race on Royal Ascot Trials Day live on Sky Sports Racing (Sky 415 | Virgin 535) and Sky Sports Main Event (Sky 401 | Virgin 501) on Wednesday 27th April.