04/23/2008 11:00PM

Centennial heads Sandown Classic Trial


The road to the Epsom Derby begins in earnest at Sandown Park on Saturday when Centennial will attempt to improve upon a promising juvenile campaign in the Group 3, $99,000 Sandown Classic Trial, a 1 1/4-mile prep for the 1 1/2-mile Derby.

Trained by John Gosden, Centennial followed a victory in the Haynes, Hansen & Clark Conditions Stakes at Newbury last fall with a very good second to French champion juvenile Thewayyouare in the Group 3 Prix Thomas Bryon. Both of those races were at a mile.

Feared in Flight was third behind Ibn Khaldun in his most recent outing, the one-mile Group 1 Racing Post Trophy on Oct. 27, and offers the biggest challenge.

* Trainer Henry Cecil revealed Thursday that Twice Over, winner of the one-mile Group 3 Craven Stakes at Newmarket last Thursday and the third favorite for the 2000 Guineas, would bypass the Guineas in favor of the Dante Stakes, a key Epsom Derby prep at York on May 15. Meanwhile, trainer Jim Bolger has said that European juvenile champ New Approach, slated to make his seasonal debut in the 2000 Guineas, will most likely skip the Epsom Derby in favor of the Irish 2000 Guineas and the Irish Derby.