Sandown preview: Onassis out to make another leap forward in Atalanta Stakes

Sat 22 Aug 2020

Onassis faces another step in her breakthrough season in the Group Three Betway Atalanta Stakes at Sandown.

The daughter of Dubawi is already a Listed winner, having struck at Chantilly on her latest run following success in the Sandringham Handicap at Royal Ascot.

The Charlie Fellowes-trained filly was due to run at this level at Deauville last weekend, but connections scrapped that plan because of quarantine restrictions and decided to wait for Sunday’s target on home soil.

“It’s a hot race, but she couldn’t have been more impressive in France last time,” said Fellowes.

“I’m hoping the ground dries out as much as possible – with a strong wind and warm temperatures, there’s a good chance it will be pretty nice ground come Sunday.

“She needs to take another step forward, but the rate she’s improving this year that’s not out of the question.”

Quadrilateral is reported back in rude health after being sidelined following her third place in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot.

The Roger Charlton-trained filly had earlier finished third in the 1000 Guineas behind Love, and now seeks to open her account for the campaign.

“She’s run two very good races in fairness, to be third in both the 1000 Guineas and the Coronation,” said Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager for owner Khalid Abdullah.

“It appeared afterwards that she had a sinus infection and an infected tooth, so we’ve let her recover from those and had them sorted out.

“She’s been in good form since – and even though she hasn’t won (this season), you could argue that she still sets the standard. The Guineas and the Coronation are the best races.”

Billesdon Brook, winner of the 1000 Guineas in 2018, is another bringing Classic form to the table – while her trainer Richard Hannon also runs Posted in a highly-competitive field.

The Mark Johnston stable is bidding for a third success in the Betway Solario Stakes, and is represented by two fillies in Dubai Fountain and Forever Grateful.

Dubai Fountain has finished second twice in Pattern company after winning her first two starts.

Johnston’s son and assistant Charlie said: “Dubai Fountain is well established at this level and has not done a lot wrong in her two narrow defeats in Listed and Group Three company.

“We hope this looks a decent opportunity for her to win a Stakes race.

“Obviously, there are some lightly-raced colts in there who could improve, but she sets a clear form standard and hopefully she will go very close.”

Forever Grateful a makes a quick reappearance after a promising debut at Doncaster last weekend, when she was beaten only a neck by Nazuna in a seven-furlong maiden.

“She ran a very nice debut at Doncaster last Saturday and I think she is hopefully up to this class,” said Johnston.

“Whether she will be up to it one week after her debut, I’m not sure, but it looked a like a race that was going to break up into a small field.

“If she gets placed it will be very valuable to her, so we’re taking our chance.”

Of the colts, Roger Varian’s Dark Lion has tackled Group company, finishing sixth to Battleground in the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood.

Apollo One, trained by Peter Charalambous, and Richard Hannon’s Etonian have won their only starts. The other two runners, Richard Hughes’ Dinoo and Andrew Balding’s King Vega, were second on their only runs so far.

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