Dettori bidding to make it super seven as Weekender steps up for Gosden
Matchbook VIP Henry II Stakes | 2m | 4yo+ | ITV4/RUK
No jockey has won this race more than Frankie Dettori, who will be in seventh heaven if Weekender comes home in front for John Gosden, who also saddles outsider Glencadam Glory.
Dettori, who made it six wins in the Group 3 when steering Big Orange to victory 12 months ago, won a conditions race at Chelmsford recently on Weekender, who appears likely to start favourite.
"Weekender won well at Chelmsford and that has opened new doors for him," said Gosden.
"We haven't done that much with him at home since then but he's in good shape and should like the stiff finish."
The mount of Robert Havlin, Glencadam Master, ninth in last year's Derby, also tries two miles for the first time.
Gosden added: "He looked to be crying out for this trip when finishing off well in the Buckhounds Stakes at Ascot last time."
Stamina isn't an issue for the reliable and evergreen Sheikhzayedroad, who produced a smart effort when second to Vazirabad in the Dubai Gold Cup at Meydan in March.
His only previous run at Sandown resulted in a nose defeat in the 2014 Brigadier Gerard Stakes on this card.
His trainer David Simcock said: "We've done things a bit differently with him this year and we're giving him a prep for the Gold Cup here, rather than taking him straight there. He'll probably improve for it."
Just a four-year-old, Mount Moriah is five years younger than Sheikhzayedroad and looked a promising stayer last season, building on that with a fine victory in the Further Flight Stakes at Nottingham last month.
"He's done nothing wrong and had a good campaign last year," said jockey Harry Bentley. "He was good at Nottingham. It was his first run of the season so he's entitled to improve for the run.
"The only concern is the ground. His form is on easier going and when he's run well, it's been with cut in the ground. It's a question mark, but we've got to go on it sooner or later to find out if he does go on it."
Chester Cup winner Magic Circle steps into Group company for Fran Berry, who was hurt when Give Em A Clump – later caught in spectacular fashion by At The Races presenter Hayley Moore – unseated him at Chepstow on Tuesday.
Berry, who was suspended on Wednesday in any case, but welcomed the physio and rest day, said: "He goes there in top form off the back of his Chester Cup win.
"It's a step up in class but he's got every chance, although it does depend how good Weekender is. Magic Circle looks an exposed horse but I'm very hopeful."
The ground at Sandown on Wednesday was given as good to firm, good in places, with possible showery rain overnight into Thursday morning.
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