Trainer Richard Fahey will bid to win his first British juvenile Group 1 when he saddles Sands Of Mali in the £200,000 Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket’s Rowley Mile Racecourse on Saturday, 30th September during The Cambridgeshire Meeting.
The dashing pillar-to-post victor of the Group 2 Gimcrack Stakes on his latest outing, Sands Of Mali is one of 25 colts to stand their ground at yesterday’s (Tuesday) scratching stage for this prestigious six furlong event.
Alongside the Group 1 Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes and the Group 2 Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes, the Group 1 Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes is one of three two-year-old highlights on a superb seven-race card which boasts total prize money of no less than £738,000.
Having previously won nothing more than a novice stakes at Nottingham, Sands Of Mali produced a dominant display in the Gimcrack, pulling almost three lengths clear at the line.
The form received a boost when the runner-up and fellow Juddmonte Middle Park entry, Invincible Army, landed the Group 3 Sirenia Stakes last Saturday.
Other leading candidates are Unfortunately and Havana Grey, who notched a spectacular 1-2 for their trainer, Karl Burke, in last month’s Group 1 Prix Morny at Deauville; the Group 2 Coventry Stakes winner, Rajasinghe; and another Group 2 scorer in the shape of Cardsharp, successful in the Argana July Stakes at Newmarket’s Moët and Chandon July Festival.
An 11-strong Irish entry includes Gordon Elliott’s Group 2 Railway Stakes winner and subsequent dual Group 1 runner-up, Beckford, plus, as part of a six-horse team from the Aidan O’Brien yard, Sioux Nation, the colt who beat Beckford into second place in the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes.
Richard Fahey, trainer of Sands Of Mali, said:
“The Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes is the target for Sands Of Mali, who is really well. I am very happy with him and wouldn’t swap him for anything else in the race.”
“He put up a solid performance in the Gimcrack and that race has done him the world of good. It’s helped him grow up and he’s exactly where we want him at the moment.”
“In the long run I don’t necessarily see Sands Of Mali as a sprinter. He’s a big strong, galloping horse who is just talented.”
“He will go on any ground and it wouldn’t worry me if it rode soft at Newmarket because he won at Nottingham on quite testing ground.”