Etonian too smart for Solario rivals

Hannon harbouring Classic hopes for Sandown winner.

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Etonian entered the picture for next year’s 2000 Guineas as he maintained his unbeaten record in the Betway Solario Stakes at Sandown.

Having made a winning debut at the track last month, the Olympic Glory colt took another step forward to capture the Group Three contest.

Held up during the early stages of the seven-furlong event, the 15-8 favourite made steady headway before looming up on the bridle to join pacesetter Apollo One approaching the final quarter of a mile.

Once called on for his effort by Pat Dobbs, the response was immediate with the pair pulling clear to cross the line a length and a quarter clear of runner-up King Vega.

Hannon said: “He is a horse that stood out with the way he moved. Dobbsy had been back from Dubai for two or three days and he said ‘this is a good horse’. As time went on, he did become that horse.

“He sort of got bored of it at home and he wasn’t working very special and he was doing his bit. He then came here and went off 28-1 and I don’t know how we let that happen, but it did, and he won very well that day.

“He had grown up a lot today and travelled like a professional. He always looked like he was going better than all of them, and he looks like a Guineas horse to me for next year.”

While Hannon hopes Etonian will develop into a contender for next year’s Classic, for which he is now a 16-1 shot with Coral, a step up to Group One company is likely to be on the cards before the end of the season.

He added: “We could maybe go for the Racing Post Trophy, though Dobbsy said he wasn’t mad about that ground. I think he will have another one or two races.

“We could look at the Lagardere for instance, as his sire won that. He would be that sort of horse. He would be better on a flatter track or you have got the Dewhurst.”

Owner Julie Wood has been associated with plenty of Group race victors in her time, including Etonian’s sire Olympic Glory who she subsequently sold to Al Shaqab Racing, and Hannon was pleased to see her silks aboard another potential top-class prospect.

He added: “As soon as he put those colours of Julie on, he seemed to grow two inches. It is lovely for her to have a good one, as it has been a fair while in between good horses for her. Today you wouldn’t have kept her away from here for anything.”

Wood also believes she could have a real Classic prospect on her hands.

She said: “What a lovely horse – it was a pleasure to watch. He did it nicely. There was a patch of false ground on the bend and Pat kept him out of trouble coming up the straight and I thought he did it very well. He wants to do it and he puts his head down.

“For his second run, that was lovely. We thought he was decent and now he is.

“I’m sure the Dewhurst will be on our minds, but we can start planning going forwards. This is what racing is all about and we can think of a Guineas and start dreaming of that going into the autumn and winter.”

Etonian too smart for Solario rivals
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