This is a good time of year for three-year-olds to take on their elders and Luca Cumani’s Alketios can be the latest to take advantage of the favourable weight-for-age scale at Sandown.
In true Cumani style, this colt has been brought along slowly and only had one run at two when finishing a perfectly respectable sixth of 12 in a Newbury maiden which has worked out nicely.
He was quietly fancied at Nottingham on his seasonal bow but he had no answer to John Gosden’s Wannabe Yours as he was beaten six lengths into fourth.
As it has turned out there was absolutely no disgrace in that as Gosden’s horse subsequently made a mockery of his initial mark of 84 by winning by nine lengths. His new rating is 100.
Alketios opened his account next time out at Haydock and while he had to work quite hard to beat Taqneen, the runner-up pushed a nice sort close last week.
An opening mark of 81 seems fair and he appears to be coming up against plenty of exposed types.
Sir Michael Stoute’s Darshini caught the eye on debut at Sandown and can be expected to come on a good deal for that experience when he contests the British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden.
The Sir Percy colt was second to Brian Meehan’s useful Mustadeem and while he never looked like beating the winner, Meehan’s youngster had come fairly close to toppling Richard Hannon’s Estidhkaar, who is one of the best juveniles we have seen this season.
Usually on collateral form that would be good enough to win an average maiden but he does have to beat a Hannon youngster, Azmaam, who also showed plenty of promise on his first run.
Knowing Stoute’s modus operandi, however, Darshini is backed to improve more for his initial experience.
Jamie Spencer has been booked for Harry Dunlop’s Black Label in the Melton Mowbray Handicap at Leicester which suggests a big run is anticipated.
Second at Lingfield last time out, Spencer will be looking to improve his 25% strike-rate for the yard.
Mark Johnston’s string appear to be in good form all year round but this is the point of the season when he really looks to make hay.
He loves nothing better than a few winners at Glorious Goodwood and while Catterick’s British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden is a much lower level, the Middleham man loves racking up the numbers.
His Summer Times was second to a decent sort from Richard Fahey’s yard on debut and should have no trouble going one better.
Saarrem’s opening mark of 80 may not be all that appealing but he still looks the one to beat in the Aldermore Block Discounting Maiden Stakes at Lingfield.
John Ferguson has another potentially smart recruit on his hands in the shape of Chesterfield who makes his jumping bow in the Worcester News Novices’ Hurdle at Worcester.
CATTERICK: 2.20 Summer Times, 2.50 Stardrifter, 3.20 Blazing Rose, 3.50 Cape of Hope, 4.20 Cruise Tothelimit, 4.50 Cahal, 5.20 Charles De Mille.
LEICESTER: 5.45 Burnhope, 6.15 Cockney Belle, 6.45 Vodka Time, 7.20 Pearl Nation, 7.55 Dolphin Village, 8.30 Cordial, 9.00 Black Label.
LINGFIELD: 2.00 Saumur, 2.30 Blackasyourhat, 3.00 Saarrem, 3.30 Presidente, 4.00 Pabusar, 4.30 Greek Spirit, 5.00 Spirit Or Soul.
SANDOWN: 6.05 Enriching, 6.35 ALKETIOS (NAP), 7.10 Darshini, 7.45 Provenance, 8.20 Gambol, 8.50 Tom Sawyer.
WORCESTER: 2.10 Lisheen Hill, 2.40 Rebel High, 3.10 Chesterfield, 3.40 Take A Bow, 4.10 Solix, 4.40 Fintan, 5.10 Cool Bob.
DOUBLE: Alketios and Darshini