04/26/2008 12:00AM

Centennial able to just hang on

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Centennial led virtually throughout to capture the Group 3, $89,000 Sandown Classic Trial at Sandown Park on Saturday, holding off the late challenge of Whistledownwind by a short neck.

Sent off as the 6-5 favorite, Centennial was two lengths clear at the eighth pole, but his rider, Jimmy Fortune, had to get down to work when Whistledownwind loomed up alongside. It was another 1 1/4 lengths back to Feared in Flight in third.

Centennial was making his first start since finishing second, beaten 2 1/4 lengths, by French 2000 Guineas favorite Thewayyouare in the Group 3 Prix Thomas Bryon last fall. He covered 1 1/4 miles with its stiff half-mile uphill finish in 2:09.61 on good ground.

Afterward, trainer John Gosden said Centennial would be considered for either the Lingfield Derby Trial on May 10 or the Dante Stakes at York on May 15 as his final prep for the June 7 Epsom Derby.

* Major Cadeaux won the Group 2, $158,000 Sandown Mile by three-quarters of a length from the ex-Neil Drysdale-trained Rob Roy. Sent off at 3-2, Major Cadeaux was timed in a slow 1:43.23 for the mile and will go next in the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on May 17.