Dandino to take another step in right direction
LIGHTNING never strikes twice, or does it? Twelve months on from Harbinger's authoritative success in Goodwood's Betfair Gordon Stakes, a rising star with a direct link to racing's new champion can repeat the feat.
Dandino, trained by James Given, is unbeaten in four starts this season, having landed major handicaps at Epsom's Derby meeting and Royal Ascot along the way.
Now he is set to take on a collection of probable St Leger contenders in a race that shapes as a worthy feature on the opening day of Glorious Goodwood.
As a matter of interest, Timeform rated Harbinger 112+ after his win in the race last year, meaning that after his King George victory the Halifax firm believe he improved 30lb since.
Dandino's link to Harbinger is that they are both sons of the Juddmonte stallion Dansili. "It's very exciting," says Given, a trainer who has been waiting a while for another top-class horse to arrive. He was greatly admired for his handling of Hugs Dancer, an Ebor winner, and Oaks third Summitville.
"It is hard to fault Dandino this season. He's done everything we've asked, and the form has been franked and franked again. On the official BHA ratings, he may have a bit to find with some of the others, but he's ready to take the step up in class."
Dandino was beaten in his first two outings, his initiation at Newcastle producing a very tardy start. "It was your typical Hamlet moment," Given chuckles. "He was so mentally immature at two and lacked concentration. He'd be in a gallop at home and a pigeon would fly by and he'd start looking at it."
Jockey Paul Mulrennan has struck up a good association with Dandino.
"Even after he'd won at the Royal meeting, Paul thought Dandino was still a little green," says Given.
The colt has most to fear from Rebel Soldier, which won his latest outing by eight lengths at York.
Finjaan is a horse hoping that lightning strikes twice as he bids to land back-to-back runnings of the feature Betfair Cup.
The Royal Applause colt has not been seen since struggling in the Al Quoz Sprint on Dubai World Cup night but he arrived at last year's renewal on the back of a similar effort, having failed to stay a mile in the 2,000 Guineas.
That absence proved no hindrance, however, as he stormed down the outside to beat the reopposing Balthazaar's Gift, adding another Glorious Goodwood triumph to his Molecomb Stakes success of 12 months earlier.
However, Lord Shanakill looks a class above this field. A former Group One winner, the Henry Cecil inmate got a confidence-booster earlier this month when winning at Chester and Tom Queally's mount is taken to deny Finjaan. Luca Cumani has won the ROA Summer Stakes three times since 2004 but this time his hat-trick seeker Kazbow may have to make do with minor honours behind Godolphin's Anhar.
The son of Kingmambo began the season in a Classic trial at Newmarket and, after cutting no ice there, was sent off at 10/1 for a Haydock handicap.
He failed to truly settle on Merseyside, but still had enough left in the locker to accelerate away from his rivals in the closing stages and the runner-up was a convincing winner at Sandown on Friday.
Mark Johnston's Wadnaan steps outside of maiden company for the first time in the Journal Ladies Day Handicap at Beverley and is very much one to keep on side.
There is jumping action at Worcester, where No Panic can win the Ladbrokes Handicap Hurdle, while in Scotland Be Bapalupa spearheads the predictably strong Gordon Elliott Perth raiding party from Co Meath in the John Smith's Extra Smooth Maiden Hurdle. (© Daily Telegraph, London)
GOODWOOD SELECTIONS -- 2.10 Submariner; 2.45 Dandino (nap); 3.25 Lord Shanakill; 4.00 Mayson; 4.35 Kay Gee Be; 5.05 Straight Line; 5.40 Anhar.