Heredia has history on her side in Atalanta Stakes

Heredia will be out to uphold family honour in Sandown’s Virgin Bet Atalanta Stakes on Saturday.

It is eight seasons since the four-year-old’s dam Nakuti secured the Group Three prize and Heredia arrives at the Esher venue in peak condition following an impressive Listed success in the Dick Hern at Haydock three weeks ago.

Richard Hannon’s daughter of Dark Angel thrived for the return to a mile on that occasion, surging to a three-and-three-quarter-length victory over William Haggas’ reopposing Purplepay and the 2022 Royal Ascot scorer will seek further glory at the distance.

“She’s a homebred filly of Andrew’s (Stone, owner) and she gave us a tremendous day out at Ascot last year when she won the Sandringham,” said Richard Brown, racing manager for owners St Albans Bloodstock.

“Then we’ve sort of played around with the trip a little bit, probably fairly unsuccessfully, so we’ve gone back to a mile.

“She did it nicely at Haydock in the Dick Hern and she was off to America after Haydock. She’s got herself a reprieve and we’ll have a go in the Group Three and see where we are after that.”

Heredia disappointed on her only previous visit to Sandown when sent off the odds-on favourite for last year’s Coral Distaff.

However, connections are confident of correcting the record in a race that was the obvious fit for the ultra-consistent performer.

“Her only real bad run was our fault and not hers when we ran her back too quickly after the Sandringham last year,” continued Brown.

“We’ve slightly spaced her races a bit more since. We’re probably a bit quicker back again this time, but she’s a four-year-old and it’s a bit different – and this was really the most obvious race for her.

“Interestingly, her mother won it so hopefully she can go and follow in her footsteps.”

Potapova was a ready winner of this contest 12 months ago and Sir Michael Stoute’s five-year-old returns to defend her crown in a race the Freemason Lodge handler has won four times in the last 11 years.

She has not been seen since not being disgraced at Royal Ascot as the wet summer has somewhat curtailed her campaign and connections will again be keeping a close eye on the weather.

“Sir Michael is very happy with her. On her day, she is great and Ryan Moore rides and she likes Sandown, so we just need a little luck with the weather,” said Chris Richardson, managing director of owners Cheveley Park Stud.

“I’m a little bit nervous about the forecast and there’s a chance that if the forecast rain comes we might have to review things I suppose.

“Goodwood (earlier in the season) was a bit of a disaster when it was heavy and she pulled up so we know that is not going to suit her and if we get this rain forecast we won’t want to risk her again.

“But she’s an exciting filly with plenty of ability.”

Potapova denied John and Thady Gosden’s Grande Dame in this last year and Clarehaven are well represented once again with Sandringham scorer Coppice and the talented Queen For You.

Both have appeared in Group One contests this year, with the Juddmonte-owned Coppice a respectable fifth in the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket last month.

“It looks a nice race for her and she’s had a little freshen up since her last race at Newmarket,” said Barry Mahon, European racing manager for owners Juddmonte.

“I thought she ran a nice race in the Falmouth, she got stuck out on the wing and that heavy shower just before racing probably just took the ground away from her a little bit. But I thought she ran a great race and Tom (Marquand) gave her a good ride and was very complimentary about her after.”

Connections had hoped Coppice would be a 1000 Guineas candidate earlier in the season and despite tasting success at Royal Ascot, she is remarkably still searching for her first piece of black type.

Mahon added: “We think this is a good opportunity and having started out the year with some big aspirations it would be nice to get some black type with her. We haven’t got any yet so it would be good to get some.

“We know she handles a mile and she won very well at Ascot and we know she likes fast ground so hopefully that will stay right. She appears in good form and both John and Thady are happy with her work at home so it looks a nice opportunity.

“It’s a competitive race and they are a good bunch of fillies in the line-up but we’re hopeful she can get the job done.”

Archie Watson’s Roman Mist enjoys cut in the ground and was back to near her best when beaten a neck in the Valiant Stakes in her most recent outing, while Richard Fahey’s Midnight Mile has been a model of consistency for her Malton-based handler and now drops back to a mile with options limited over 10 furlongs.

Fahey said: “She’s in good form. She does seem to travel well in her races so it is worth giving it a go and she did win a Group Three over seven furlongs.

“There’s not many options for her at the moment over a mile and a quarter. She’s been running OK all year and is in great form so fingers crossed.”

Ismail Mohammed’s Nibras Angel is unbeaten in two starts but this is without a doubt her toughest task to date, while Gary Moore’s Goodwood victor Novus and David Menuisier’s Mysterious Love complete the 10-strong field.

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