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5.25 Sandown: Johnston hoping Royal Ascot flop Eye Of Heaven will bounce back

Wed 15 Jul 2020

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Royal Ascot disappointment Eye Of Heaven bids to redeem his reputation in the National Stakes at Sandown on Thursday.

The Exceed And Excel colt justified market confidence with an impressive racecourse debut at Newmarket in early June – beating, among others, the Queen’s subsequent Windsor Castle and July Stakes winner Tactical.

Off the back of that performance, Mark Johnston’s juvenile was unsurprisingly all the rage for the Norfolk Stakes, but had to settle for ninth in the hands of Frankie Dettori and drops to Listed class for her latest assignment.

Eye Of Heaven beat a useful field on debut at Newmarket before disappointing at Royal Ascot

Johnston said: “He was disappointing at Ascot, but he’s been good since.

“Nothing really came to light. He has had problems with cracked heels, which is only a minor issue, but I think the effect can sometimes be greater than you might imagine.

“On the form of his previous run at Newmarket, and what he shows us at home, we would expect a lot better on Thursday.”

Eye Of Heaven is set to face five rivals over five furlongs, with Nigel Tinkler raising the sights of Ubettabelieveit following a dominant display at Doncaster a couple of weeks ago.

“He’s come out of his Doncaster run in good form – we’re very happy with him,” said the Malton-based trainer.

“If Mark Johnston’s horse runs like did at Newmarket, he’ll be hard to beat, but if he runs like did at Ascot, we’ll beat him. I thought he was impressive at Newmarket, so we’ll just have to wait and see.

“Our horse is a lovely horse. We could have run in a novice at York on Saturday under a penalty, but the National Stakes only happens once a year and we thought it was worth a try.”

The Rod Millman-trained Furlong Factor returns to the fray a week after finishing second in the Marygate Stakes at York, while Deliver The Dream (Robert Cowell), Wings Of A Dove (Richard Spencer) and Mcmanaman (Richard Fahey) complete the line-up.

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