Juan Elcano primed for Newbury adventure

Well-regarded colt in Denford test

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Andrea Atzeni feels the return to a flatter track will boost the chances of Juan Elcano in the Denford Stakes at Newbury on Saturday.

Finding only Mystery Power too strong in a Group Two at Newmarket on his last start, the Kevin Ryan-trained son of Frankel will look to go one better in the seven-furlong Listed prize, which has been won in previous years by subsequent Derby heroes Lammtarra and Rodrigo De Triano.

Atzeni said of the Group One-entered colt: “He ran a solid race last time at Newmarket. I’m not sure about the track at Newmarket suiting him, as I think the dip coming down the hill didn’t suit him.

“He is a good looking horse with a great mind and we are very hopeful. That was only his second run last time and he was staying on well.

“The flat seven should suit him well, while we know he handles a softer surface as he won his novice race on heavy ground so the ground won’t be a problem. He is a horse we think a lot of and like a lot.”

Thunderous will bid to maintain his unbeaten record by backing up wins at Doncaster and Redcar and giving trainer Mark Johnston his fourth victory in the race.

Johnston said: “On ratings he has got quite a bit to find, but he is an unknown quantity. He has had two runs and two wins and he can’t do any more than that.

“He has shown a bit of class. He is a nice horse and has done everything well. You could say it was a slight step down in class from his first to his second run, but he won it very well and he deserves this shot at a Listed race.”

Johnston is also represented by Frankel’s Storm who opened her account with a wide-margin success at Carlisle on Tuesday.

He added: “Frankel’s Storm won at Carlisle on Tuesday and this is a bit quick going back.

“The owner quite rightly noticed that there was not much in it at 9am and if a couple don’t run up to form it is almost automatic black type for her.”

William Muir hopes Pyledriver can prove his 50-1 debut at victory at Salisbury in a race which has thrown up a number of subsequent winners was no flash in the pan.

Muir said: “He is a nice horse and won well at Salisbury. He was a big price, but he won with his ears pricked.

“The third, fifth and 12th have won and the runner-up ran well at Glorious Goodwood from a wide draw, so the race has turned out well. If we could get black type that would be wonderful.

“I came to Salisbury a bit concerned it would be too quick as the mother and sire have won on soft. If it was our first run I’d be thinking the ground is fine but as we have won on quick ground I’m unsure but we will give it a go.”

Having sent out Boitron to win the race 12 months ago trainer Richard Hannon will be represented by Sun Power and recent course and distance winner Sesame Birah, as he looks to land the prize again.

Hannon said: “Sun Power should have an excellent chance as he just got nabbed late on at Ascot at the same level.

“That was just under a month ago and he is probably a bit stronger now. Hopefully he settles and if he does he will run a good race and go very close.

“Sesame Birah is quite a nice filly who has won a couple of races and we are trying again for a bit of black type. There are only six in it and you would like to think she can nick a place.

“The ground should be OK for Sun Power, while Sesame Birah has run OK on it before.”

Juan Elcano primed for Newbury adventure
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