Heredia charges to Atalanta Stakes success

Heredia finished with a flourish to land the Virgin Bet Atalanta Stakes at Sandown.

Richard Hannon’s charge was a convincing Listed winner at Haydock last time out and was duly sent off the 5-2 favourite to add to her tally in this Group Three affair.

Settled towards the back of the field as Roman Mist cut out the early running, Heredia was clearly travelling well coming into the straight and when Sean Levey gave the signal, she made rapid strides down the middle of the track.

Heredia seized the advantage inside the final furlong and while Queen For You tried to match her, the winner proved three-quarters of a length too good at the line. Last year’s race winner was a further length and a quarter back in third.

Heredia was introduced at 20-1 for the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita in November by Paddy Power and Hannon feels his charge would merit a shot at a big race.

Hannon said: “She was drawn 10 of 10 which makes things a lot more difficult. I don’t think they went overly quick, although I haven’t seen the time, and he (Sean Levey) had to come a bit wide.

“After her last run I thought she would run very well. She is clearly in the form of her life and she has never been moving better. She was a little bit of a madam before the gates today.

“We were talking about some of the big races in America and she has justified going for one or two of those opportunities after this. I thought we would be lucky to win a Listed race earlier in the year, but she has thrived throughout the year.

“For St Albans Bloodstock, who bred her, they admitted she gave them one of them one of the best days of their lives when she won at Royal Ascot (in last year’s Sandringham Stakes). She won a Listed race last time and no one was there, but they were here today and it is a great day for them.

“She looks great, and she almost looks like she will need the race as she is carrying a bit of weight as she is getting older. She was a very fast two-year-old and she won first time and normally if ours do, they are pretty good and she has shown that.

“She won’t be going stateside until she is a squeezed lemon (over here), but it is up to them and I think they have got to try a big one in America in my name before one of those big trainers in America gets her.”

While America appears to be Heredia’s ultimate destination, the four-year-old could yet be supplemented for next month’s Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket.

Richard Brown, spokesman for St Albans Bloodstock, said: “We will just enjoy this and have a look. There are some American options, but there are also options here.

“A Sun Chariot might come into the equation. She is not entered in that, but after that we could supplement her.

“We will pitch her in now. I’d say it will either be the Sun Chariot or we will look at one of those American options.

“I read that Inspiral is going to go (to the Sun Chariot), which is pretty scary, so we will have to see who is going where and take our time.

“In America, she can quicken and travel off a strong pace and potentially that will suit her.

“I think she will end up there (America) and we could take her there, run her there and leave her there. She keeps stepping up and I would say we would exhaust opportunities here first.”

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