Racing: Crown poised to assert authority: Richard Edmondson on a colt whose progress has put a Group race within his grasp

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The Independent Online
ONE OF racing's safer systems presents itself at Sandown this afternoon: back Henry Cecil's horse in the Solario Stakes.

Over the last 10 years, the Newmarket trainer has won the Group Three event on five occasions, usually with a horse ready to run the race of its life.

Of the Warren Place quintet successful over the last decade only Oh So Sharp, the subsequent winner of the fillies' triple crown, has shown that victory here was anything but a fleeting starburst of form. If Mukhamedov, Cecil's runner this year, is ever to make his name as a racehorse it appears he will have to do it today.

The colt is already a celebrity in the minor realm of the Newmarket gallops and was a short price to make his debut a winning one on his home course last month. All the money placed on Mukhamedov that day seemed to go in his saddle, however, as he ran a wretched race to finish sixth of seven runners.

The money was retrieved two weeks later when Mukhamedov won over course and distance to prove he is following a steep learning curve. But there may be a system breaker further up the line in the shape of WHITE CROWN (nap 3.40).

Ben Hanbury's colt, a son of Derby winner Secreto, has made extravagant progress since his debut over an inadequate trip at Newmarket in April. 'He's an improving horse who has come on for every run,' Walter Swinburn, the horse's regular rider, says. 'We never thought he could step up to this class, but the way he has come on it's difficult to say just how good he might be in time. We haven't got to the bottom of him yet.'

Ben Hanbury, the colt's trainer, may be adding to the eulogies today, and he should also have some kind words for Persiansky (2.35), who has put up some promising performances in maidens and now has sound prospects off a low weight in the nursery handicap.

Another prize can find its way back to Newmarket via Chris Wall's lightly-raced three-year-old Walimu (next best 4.10), placed on all three of her starts to date, while Cloud Of Dust (3.10) should, as her name suggests, leave rivals in her wake in the Listed fillies' contest.

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