History Writer may have advertised his Royal Ascot claims by scoring with authority in the one-mile Randox Health Handicap Stakes, but he is likely to miss the cut for the Hunt Cup at the showpiece meeting.
Jason Watson stole a march on his rivals with two furlongs to go and ran out a two-length winner from Baltic Baron.
Winning trainer David Meiuisier said of his 5-1 scorer: “He is in the Hunt Cup, but I don’t think he will get in. It is unlikely.
“Do I really want him to go to Ascot after that? I’m not sure. The main idea about today was to come back in three weeks’ time on Eclipse day for the big mile handicap.
“The cut in the ground plays to his strengths, but here at Sandown it is less significant because firstly they look after the track so well and secondly they quicken up hill, so good to firm ground is less significant.
“The rain does help, anyway.”
Mick Appleby quipped “the Ayr Gold Cup is the dream” for Fantasy Keeper after he justified 13-8 favouritism when powering home under champion jockey Silvestre de Sousa to land the five-furlong randox.com Handicap Stakes.
But owner Tony Blewitt was keeping his feet on the ground.
Blewitt said: “If he gets soft ground he will be out again in a couple of weeks, but he is not an Ayr Gold Cup horse. I’m just realistic. If we go for the Ayr Bronze Cup, that will do.
“He’s on a mark of 78, but he’s an 85 handicapper. If he gets to 90, I’ll be surprised.”
There was an unusual sight of two horses in the small winner’s enclosure after Wise Counsel (3-1) dead-heated with the fast-finishing Pesto (10-1) in the seven-furlong Randox Handicap Stakes.
Oisin Murphy’s mount had looked like taking the prize for the Clive Cox yard, only for Tom Marquand to get a lovely tow and pounce late on the Richard Hannon-trained Pesto, who was having his first run since August.
Hannon said: “I was fairly sure he was second, but he has been off a long time. He is a very nice colt and he’s clearly quite smart. I thought he would have been an unlucky loser.
“There is a very nice handicap at Newmarket’s July meeting, worth a lot of money, over a mile for three-year-olds only. He loved the ground, but he will go on fast ground as well. He was bit weak last year and he’s taken a bit of time to come to himself.”
Hannon is looking forward to Royal Ascot and in particular the Coventry Stakes with Threat.
He said: “I worked Threat this morning and he’s fine. I’m hoping he is a very good horse. He will need to be, to be placed! It looks a strong race, but it always is.”
Murphy made a quick return to the No.1 spot when New King routed five rivals in the randoxhealth.com Handicap Stakes, the 15-8 favourite scoring by eight lengths from Pour Me A Drink.
The jockey was impressed by the John Gosden-trained Frankel colt, who skipped clear in style halfway up the straight, having had traffic problems when fourth here last time.
Murphy said: “John said he has been thriving at home and he ran well here when I got too far back and was denied a clear run, so it was nice to see what he was made of today.
“He travelled well and we went a nice pace, and I had plenty of horse at the bottom of the straight.
“He clearly enjoyed slow ground, but he is a good-moving horse and 10 furlongs on a stiff track or a mile and a half might suit him well.”