Tuesday 16 January 2018

Ahern wins the plaudits after Khan redeems his reputation

Tom Peacock

Native Khan emerged from Sandown yesterday with his sizeable reputation intact after passing his first serious test in the Alexis Catchpole Celebration Solario Stakes.

Ed Dunlop's grey created quite a buzz when pulling well clear on his debut at Newmarket, but found things more demanding on his step up to Group Three company and was trapped behind horses with two of the seven furlongs remaining.

Once Eddie Ahern located a gap, Native Khan picked up the bridle quite stylishly and while he did not stride right away, he appeared to be in control of dual winner Measuring Time, which finished half a length behind.

While there have been plenty of subsequent underachievers among the former winners of the Solario, horses like Raven's Pass and Oh So Sharp went on to great success and Dunlop is now considering a handful of Group One options for Native Khan.

"He did it well considering it was a little bit of a messy race," said Dunlop. "We were in jail, but Eddie got us out. He will have learned a lot from it and it was the right decision to come here and not run on soft ground at Newbury last weekend.

"He won't have a heavy campaign, maybe one or two more races, but it will be a big one. He's in the Dewhurst, the Racing Post and the Grand Criterium, which as he is French-bred, we will consider."

Native Khan was trimmed to 25/1 from 33s by William Hill for next year's 2,000 Guineas. Richard Hannon said of Measuring Time: "He ran a little green but that was a solid run. He'll be very nice."

Kieren Fallon had flown to America for a ride on Luca Cumani's Summit Surge in the Arlington Million and as well as Native Khan, he found himself missing two other winners, with Jean-Pierre Guillambert deputising on both.

Cumani's Seta has been kept out of the limelight in minor events at Leicester and Warwick since finishing down the field in the 1,000 Guineas, but she may now be ready for a return to a bigger stage.

The flashy chestnut was usurped as favourite for the Listed event by Decorative, which needed a shoe replacing at the start and eventually finished last.

Guillambert was positive on Seta (11/4) and kicked on from three furlongs out, but she took a long time to master Flora Trevelyan and then had to deal with Long Lashes appearing from the pack.

Sunday Independent

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