Sugar Boy and Chris Hayes led, were headed, and battled back to winPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Hayes lands Classic Trial with sweet ride on Sugar
Report: Sandown, Friday
bet365 Classic Trial (Group 3) 1m2f, 3yo
HAVING been won by subsequent Group 1 winner Imperial Monarch last year, the trophy for the Sandown Classic Trial was again won by an Irish raider as Chris Hayes produced a brilliant ride from the front on the Patrick Prendergast-trained Sugar Boy, getting back up having been headed by Ryan Moore and Eye Of The Storm.
Hayes led the field along at a solid gallop, breaking well from stall seven and taking things up. Turning for home he had two lengths on 2-1 favourite Eye Of The Storm, who travelled second throughout, yet by the time they passed the two-furlong pole he had been headed.
But Sugar Boy didn't lie down and battled to hold on to the advantage of the rail and, as the pair began to pull clear, the only one that could go with them was the David Wachman-trained Galileo Rock, who completed the all-Irish one-two-three.
Never shaken off, from the furlong pole Sugar Boy came again and ground down his rival, slowly but surely reasserting to score by a head at the line.
Second to Battle Of Marengo 12 days ago, Sugar Boy gave a big boost to the form of the Derby second favourite and he was cut across the board into 7-1 for the Classic, although Coral went shortest at 6-1.
The Richard Hannon-trained Woodstock hung halfway across the track, carrying Libertarian with him and in doing so ruined any sort of chance either would have had of finishing in contention.
Formerly assistant to Sir Michael Stoute, Prendergast said: "He is not in the Epsom Derby because the track wouldn't suit him. He needs a stiff track, which is why I came here with him, and he will run in the Irish Derby and will get an entry in the Ladbrokes St Leger rather than the Irish St Leger, which is open to older horses.
"He is as good as I have had and I am expecting more improvement when he steps up to the mile and a half as he stays so well."