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Loughnane hoping Soprano will be on song again at Sandown

Loughnane hoping Soprano will be on song again at Sandown
Loughnane hoping Soprano will be on song again at Sandown

Soprano hit all the right notes for Billy Loughnane at Royal Ascot and the duo are out for another starring role in the Coral Distaff at Sandown on Saturday.

Loughnane lit up Royal Ascot with his exploits in the saddle and having won the Coventry on 80-1 outsider Rashabar on day one, doubled his tally at the sport’s showcase meeting when expertly guiding Soprano home in the ultra-competitive Sandringham Stakes.

It was a victory which meant a great deal, as it came for trainer George Boughey and owners Highclere Thoroughbreds, who have both been great supporters of the 18-year-old Loughnane.

Now he hopes to excel in the plate once again as the duo search for Listed honours on the Coral-Eclipse undercard in Esher.

Loughnane said: “It’s a chance for another big day and Soprano has been drawn wide again unfortunately, so we will have to see how she jumps from the gate. She’s been a great filly for me this year and hopefully she can continue her recent run of form.

“She’s a filly who stays the mile really well and she had good two-year-old form over seven furlongs. She had just been a bit free in her work, so we were dropping her back in trip, but she relaxed great at Ascot and hit the line well and we will probably be looking to do something similar.

“It was a massive day at Ascot, great for George, the team and everyone at Highclere as well. Highclere have been very good to me this year and have given me my first ever Listed winner and a Royal Ascot winner, so hopefully we can keep the ball rolling.”

Rated only 5lb inferior to Soprano is Clove Hitch, who takes a significant rise in class following an impressive eight-length romp when opening her account at Newbury.

Trained by Andrew Balding, she is one of two in the race for owners Juddmonte and prior to opening her account, the daughter of Siyouni had shaped nicely behind both Cat Ninja and William Haggas’ Dante scorer Economics.

“There’s not many horses get rated 102 after winning a maiden (novice) and she’s a nice filly,” said Juddmonte’s European racing manager Barry Mahon.

“She ran a great race behind Cat Ninja at Windsor the time before and she was placed behind Economics on her first run back, so she’s run some good races and she’s a promising filly.

“We’re looking forward to seeing her on the track again.”

Juddmonte will also be represented by Ralph Beckett’s Indelible, who served a reminder of her potential in her Doncaster return and was fourth behind Soprano when sent off at 5-1 for the Sandringham at Ascot.

Also doubly represented are the training team of John and Thady Gosden, who rely on Height Of Fashion Stakes runner-up Regal Jubilee and Spiritual, who filled the same position at York when last seen in the Listed Michael Seely Memorial Fillies’ Stakes.

“It’s a stiff mile at Sandown and Regal Jubilee is a filly with a good turn of foot. She obviously ran a nice race last time out at Goodwood to finish second,” said Thady Gosden.

“Spiritual has been in good form since York and the track at Sandown, a stiff mile will suit her well also. She’s a filly who has improved with every run.”

There is an Irish raider in the form of Joseph O’Brien’s Unreasonable, who has performed with credit at a useful level in her two starts this term.

O’Brien said: “She has already got herself a bit of black type and we’re going over there hoping to win a stakes race.

“Ideally, she wouldn’t want any rain, but she goes over in good form and it would be great if she could sneak another bit of black type.”

Agnes Keyser Fillies’ Stakes runner-up Bolsena drops back to a mile for Kevin Ryan, with the Haggas-trained Tiaraqueen and Jack Channon’s Gray’s Inn completing the line-up.

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