04/26/2012 3:03PM

Sandown Park: Sandown Classic Trial draws small field


The best racing in Europe on Saturday comes at Sandown Park in England, which hosts two Group 3 stakes among a mixed flat- and jump-race card.

The Gordon Richards Stakes has drawn a more appealing cast than the Sandown Classic Trial, which lured only four 3-year-olds when final declarations were announced. The quartet for the Trial, contested at about 10 furlongs on a course expected to be heavy, includes a pair of fairly promising debut maiden winners, Imperial Monarch for Aidan O’Brien and Thought Worthy for John Gosden, and two more accomplished runners, Rougemont and Stipulate. Rougemont, a three-time winner, beat the decent Mickdaam and 12 others last out in the Tattersalls Millions 3-year-old Trophy Stakes. Stipulate, a Henry Cecil-trained Juddmonte Farms horse, won a listed stakes at Newmarket in his most recent venture.

The Gordon Richards, run over the same distance, is expected to go postward with a field of 10 runners, among them Juddmonte’s Twice Over, who makes the second start of his 7-year-old campaign just nine days after taking a narrow loss in the Earl of Sefton Stakes at Newmarket. Juddmonte has a second entrant in the Richards, World Domination, a fringe Epsom Derby prospect of 2011 who makes his first start since last June. Another 4-year-old, Colombian, struggled to break through in group stakes competition last year, but rates a chance in his 2012 bow for Gosden.

Frankel on course for Lockinge

Undefeated two-time champion Frankel continues to move away from a recent injury scare, performing what Juddmonte Farms racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe termed “a little bit of work” Wednesday morning at Newmarket.

The faster-paced exercise was Frankel’s first since he resumed training after suffering what turned out to be a minor foreleg injury during a workout April 11. Grimthorpe said that as of now, Frankel remains on course to make his long-planned 4-year-old debut in the J.T. Lockinge Stakes on May 19 at Newbury.

◗ Cirrus des Aigles, winner of the Dubai Sheema Classic in his most recent start, heads the prospective lineup for Sunday’s Group 1 Prix Ganay at Longchamp, the first major race for older horses of the European flat season. Course conditions for the Ganay are expected to be testing, but Cirrus des Aigles is proven over heavy going.