Clive Cox is excited to see Positive return to action in the Betway Solario Stakes at Sandown.
The Dutch Art colt created a big impression when making a winning debut at Salisbury in late June, a victory which earned him a steep rise in class for the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood last month.
Cox’s faith was justified as his youngster finished a clear second to the star juvenile of the season so far, in 2000 Guineas favourite Pinatubo – and Positive will be warm order to get back on the winning trail in Saturday’s seven-furlong Group Three.
“We were thrilled with his run in the Vintage, and we’ve been very pleased with him since,” said the Lambourn trainer.
“The Vintage was a step we were happy to take, and he justified that step. I’d like to think he has taken another step forward since, and we’re looking forward to running him.
“There are some promising horses in the race on Saturday, but we’re hopeful.
“He is certainly a horse we’re excited about for the future.”
Pinatubo’s trainer Charlie Appleby relies on the hooded Al Suhail on Saturday.
Touched off on his Newmarket debut in July, the son of Dubawi dominated his rivals on his second appearance at Yarmouth little over a fortnight ago.
Appleby, who also saddles outsider Full Verse, said: “Al Suhail progressed nicely from his first run to his second run – and he was quite impressive at Yarmouth.
“He’s a horse with a lot of natural pace, and we think he’s ready to step up to the next level. He’s run over a straight seven furlongs twice so far, but we think the turning seven and the stiff finish at Sandown will suit him.
“You’ve obviously got to have a lot of respect for the favourite (Positive), and there’s a few other unexposed horses in there.”
The Mark Johnston-trained Visinari looked a superstar in the making when blitzing his rivals on his racecourse introduction at Newmarket.
However, the grey suffered an odds-on defeat when narrowly beaten into third place in the July Stakes on his second start – and he was then eight and a half lengths behind Positive when fourth in the Vintage.
“We’re obviously taking on a horse that finished quite a long way in front of us at Goodwood, but we’re not going to run away from one horse,” said Johnston.
“Conditions are right, and we’ll see how he performs.”
John Gosden has trained five previous winners of the Solario – one short of the record set by the late Sir Henry Cecil.
The Clarehaven maestro’s previous winners include subsequent Breeders’ Cup Classic hero Raven’s Pass (2007), the brilliant Kingman (2013) and last year’s juvenile sensation Too Darn Hot.
Gosden’s 2019 representative is Eshaasy, who faces a significantly tougher task than when winning at Kempton last time.
Angus Gold, racing manager to owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, said: “Hopefully he’s a nice horse. He ran creditably on his debut at Newmarket (finished seventh) and then he won well, I thought.
“He’s a work in progress, and I can’t tell you he’s going to win on Saturday, but we hope he’s a nice horse for the future.”
Andrew Balding runs course-and-distance winner Kameko, while Hector Loza makes his first start on turf for Simon Dow following successive victories on the all-weather at Chelmsford and Lingfield.
Dow said: “We are taking a leap into the dark, but we feel he is a progressive colt with a nice profile that seems to be going in the right direction.
“We didn’t feel like going the handicap route in this instance – we thought we would throw him in at the deep end and see what happens.
“He would need them to go fast, and he is a bit inexperienced on turf. He has come on a lot since his last run, and we have done as much as we can to settle him at home and keep him in a good place.”