Ladies Day at Sandown proves very popular with the quality of racing matching the calibre of outfits

By Peter Moore at Sandown Park Friday 5th July 2024

The day before Coral Eclipse Day at Sandown Park was a day for the ladies, with plenty of competitions on offer and an excellent days racing on Ladies Day.

The day started with trainer Dylan Cunha picking up a winner by saddling Cervetto to victory in the amateur jockeys handicap run over 1m.

It was a welcome winner for the South African, having gone a few weeks without one. Jockey Fletcher Yarham gave the four-year-old the perfect ride with check pieces fitted for the first time.

Aesterius warmed up for Glorious Goodwood with a satisfying success in the Class 1 Listed Race over 5f for two-year-olds.

The colt finished fifth in the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot recently and made the most of a drop down in grade for Wathnan Racing and Archie Watson with James Doyle aboard.

“He ran a huge race at Royal Ascot,” said Watson. “Like a lot of the races there, it was a bit affected by the draw. He raced against Whistlejacket the whole way, but still ran a huge race and was beaten just over a length. 

“This was the obvious race with half an eye on Goodwood and he’s sharpened up. James was very happy but we’d have preferred something better to lead us into the race. James was trying to keep hold of him so he didn’t land in front three furlongs out.”

Aesterius will have the option of remaining at five furlongs for the Molecomb Stakes or stepping up in trip for the Richmond Stakes. “I’m sure he’ll improve again with a strong pace to aim at,” said Watson. “My immediate thought is he’d travel well in a Molecomb.”

Watson also offered an update on Coventry runner-up Electrolyte, who also runs in the Wathan colours, and said: “The July Stakes is our first choice, but it will be a case of which of the Wathnan horses goes where, with the Prix Robert Papin also an option.”

Father and daughter Adrian and Mia Nicholls teamed up to land the Davies Group Handicap, a Class 2 on Tees Spirit.

A confirmed front runner, despite the gelding who dwelt at the start, the three-year-old led the field at the 4f pole to hold on to win by half a length from Existent.

Top weight Anna Domini defied top weight to give champion jockey William Buick another winner when the colt made it two from two by getting the better of Windlord by three quarters of a length.

 William Haggas is another trainer who is in fine form at the moment after Al Mubhir made it 14 wins in the past fortnight- a strike rate of 31% for the Newmarket trainer by taking the Class 1 Listed Race over 1m 2f.

Star stayer Trueshan bounced back to form to land the Coral Marathan run over two miles.

The eight-year-old landed the Group 1 Prix du Cadran last September, but was well beaten in the Long Distance Cup next time out and failed to feature on his first two starts this year.

Trueshan was sent off favourite and ran out a comfortable winner from Night Sparkle by two lengths.

“That was great to see him back to himself,” said Doyle. “He’s just taken a few runs this year. They tend to go that way when they get a bit older, but he was carrying less weight and had a nice time of things.

On Trueshan’s form this season, Doyle added: “Last year I think people questioned him, but then he won the Doncaster Cup after doing things completely the wrong way round then won the Prix du Cadran.