Reach For The Moon wins Solario to give Queen jubilee Derby chance

The prospect of a fancied runner for the Queen in next year’s Derby amid the celebrations for her Platinum Jubilee moved one small step closer at Sandown Park on Saturday as Reach For The Moon, a product of the Queen’s breeding operation, ran away with the Group Three Solario Stakes to earn quotes of around 14-1 for the Epsom Classic next June.

The only colt in front of John and Thady Gosden’s colt in the ante-post Derby betting is Aidan O’Brien’s Point Lonsdale, who finished half a length in front of Reach For The Moon in the seven-furlong Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.

Reach For The Moon set off as the 2-5 favourite on Saturday having opened his account at the third attempt in a minor event at Newbury last month. The form of that success had been franked earlier in the week when Harrow, the four-length runner-up, won at York’s Ebor meeting and Reach For The Moon justified his short price without needing to find top gear.

Frankie Dettori, who opted to partner Reach For The Moon in preference to riding for Gosden on the final day of the Ebor meeting at York, was always travelling smoothly, made easy headway to take the lead with just under a quarter of a mile to run and then quickened clear. Dettori was easing down at the line but still had four lengths to spare over the runner-up, Great Max.

“He was quite babyish at the beginning of his career,” Dettori said, "[ma] with racing he is getting better and better. Today, he stopped his antics a little bit and he was focusing better. He has got a good size, a wonderful stride and he has got gears. He’s a very exciting prospect.

“I was a bit concerned about the slow pace at the beginning so I set him for home a long way out. Normally I wouldn’t do that, but I didn’t want to sit and sprint as he is such a big horse. He went through the gears and put daylight between them and felt good on top.

“We feel like the more he is racing the better he is getting, so I suspect you will see him out a couple more times before the end of the season. I suspect the [Group One] Dewhurst [at Newmarket on 9 ottobre] could be the plan.”

The Solario Stakes has a rich recent history as a source of Classic and Group One-winning three-year-olds. Masar, the following season’s Derby winner, was a two-length winner in 2017, while the multiple Group One winners Kingman and Too Darn Hot were successful in 2013 e 2018 rispettivamente.

At York, Johnny Murtagh won the Ebor for the second time in eight years and gave Ireland its sixth win in the last 13 runnings as Sonnyboyliston stayed on too strongly for Quickthorn and Alounak.

Quickthorn hit the front just over a furlong out but Ben Coen, who was appointed number one jockey to the Murtagh stable at the start of the year, soon edged a neck ahead and then galloped on resolutely to win by a head.

Coen, who has been widely tipped as a future Irish champion jockey, celebrated his first Royal Ascot winner on only his fifth ride at the meeting in June and has now added a success in Europe’s most valuable Flat handicap to an excellent return in his first season as Murtagh’s principal jockey.

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