Simon Holt previews the ITV4 action from Sandown on Thursday evening, with Weekender featuring among two bets on the card.
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On a fascinating televised card at Sandown on Thursday evening, WEEKENDER is one of several horses on show with the potential to go onto greater things, and John Gosden's colt is fancied to successfully step up in class and distance in the two-mile Group Three Matchbook VIP Henry II Stakes.
A model of consistency so far, Frankie Dettori's mount made short work of his rivals in an ideal seasonal reappearance at Chelmsford two weeks ago and certainly looks ready to rise up the ranks.
Weekender's best performance last season came in a Listed event at Ascot (1m6f) in October when finishing just in front of Raheen House (Mount Moriah fifth) only to be disqualified for causing interference. On his previous start, he was beaten three-quarters of a length by the subsequent Listed winner Daphne at Newbury with Withold, who landed a gamble in the Cesarewitch next time, back in third.
Those bits of form, at face value, don't give the son of Frankel a great deal in hand over some more established stayers here, but his manner of racing (usually pushed along some way out over shorter distances) suggests that he is going to get better over further and he has easily the most scope for improvement in this line-up.
The danger could be recent Chester Cup winner Magic Circle who destroyed his rivals, including fifth-placed Time To Study, round the Roodee on his first start for the excellent Ian Williams.
However, this could be a more tactically-run affair (Frankie may well try to dictate the gallop) over a two furlong shorter trip and there is little doubt that the six-year-old was at his strongest in the closing stages that day.
Mount Moriah, successful on his reappearance at Nottingham, is also progressive but has never run on ground quicker than good while Sheikhzayedroad is difficult to predict notwithstanding his surprisingly good effort to chase home the high-class French stayer Vazirabad at Meydan at the end of March.
Earlier, Without Parole, another son of Frankel trained by Gosden and ridden by Dettori, looks set to start a warm favourite for the Listed Matchbook Is Commission Free Heron Stakes.
The winner of both his starts by six lengths, this exciting prospect could be anything though a strict interpretation of his defeat of the 90-rated Ostilio (winner since) at Yarmouth last month certainly suggests this will be much tougher against the likes of Racing Post Trophy fifth Gabr and the once-raced, once-successful Regal Reality, both trained by Sir Michael Stoute.
However, the horse who brings the best recent form into the race is VINTAGER who ran a blinder over this course and distance in the Esher Cup last month splitting Merlin Magic (fourth since in the Dante) and Kings Shield (sixth in the French Guineas) conceding weight to both who are now rated several pounds higher than David Menuisier's grey.
There should be a good race in this horse and my only reservation is that he ran by far his best race first time out last season, beating two smart rivals in Symbolization and Old Persian at Newmarket, before proving a little disappointing in two subsequent starts.
It's possible that Kieran Shoemark's mount is taking on something special in Without Parole but a repeat of his course effort should be enough to make him very competitive, and worthy of each-way support in this nine-runner field.
Posted at 1655 BST on 23/05/18.