Aktabantay fancied to follow Kingman’s lead in Solario

Estidhkaar

Aktabantay chases home impressive winner Estidhkaar at Newmarket

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)  

AKTABANTAY, runner-up in the Group 2 Superlative Stakes last time, has been installed as favourite for Saturday’s European Wealth Solario Stakes, a race won last year by Kingman.

The Hugo Palmer-trained colt found Toormoore’s half-brother Estidhkaar too hot to handle at Newmarket’s July meeting but fared best of the rest, shaping with promise on a big step up in grade.

Betfred have made the Dewhurst entry, the mount of Ryan Moore, their 15-8 favourite for the Sandown Group 3, with Godolphin’s Newmarket maiden winner Future Empire next best at 5-2.

Andrew Balding has left in Racing Post Trophy entry, Elm Park, but the intention is to run at Salisbury on Friday, while Cock Of The North reopposes Aktabantay, having finished one place and two and a quarter lengths behind him in the Superlative.

Kingman’s trainer John Gosden has historically used the Solario to test his best juveniles – he also won the race with Raven’s Pass in 2007 – but he is not represented this time as the field is completed by Lexington Times (Richard Hannon) and Pallister (Mark Johnston).

Gosden has, however, issued an update on Kingman, where he has raised the possibility of stepping the brilliant colt up in trip next season – if he stays in training.

Since finishing second in the 2,000 Guineas, the three-year-old has proved to be Europe’s leading miler with thrilling victories in the Irish Guineas, St James’s Palace Stakes, Sussex Stakes and Prix Jacques le Marois.

Kingman has drawn comparisons with Frankel, another Khalid Abdullah superstar who dominated at a mile during his Classic year before proving equally dominant over a mile and a quarter as a four-year-old.

Kingman (James Doyle) wins the Solario stakes Sandown 31.8.13

Kingman winning last year’s Solario Stakes at Sandown

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)  

“Frankel obviously went mile, mile, mile and then he stepped up to a mile and a quarter at York [Juddmonte International] and again in the Champion [Stakes] at Ascot,” said Gosden on At The Races.

“If he [Kingman] stayed in training next year you have the options to do similar things, but at this stage, as a three-year-old, a mile is his trip.

“You could easily bring him back [in trip] if you wanted to and as he relaxes so well, you could probably step him up in trip. If he did stay in training next year, those become options.

“I don’t think any decisions will be made until the end of October and the final decision will very much rest with the owner.”

Kingman has an entry in next month’s Prix du Moulin, but is more likely to be saved for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, which has been a long-term target.

“He’s in good order. He came out of Deauville very well and I’m happy with him. He has a very relaxed attitude,” added Gosden.

“We’ve put him in the Moulin, but he’s more likely to go straight to the QEII as we originally planned.”

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