Without Parole out to make up for lost time with big run in mile feature
Matchbook Is Commission Free Heron Stakes | Listed | 1m | 3yo | ITV4/RUK
Newmarket's loss could be Sandown's gain when exciting colt Without Parole puts his unbeaten record on the line in this mile feature for three-year-olds.
Trainer John Gosden, who has won this race only once, with Fallen Idol in 2010, was hoping to run his latest Frankel protege in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket nearly three weeks ago but he was forced out of contention just four days beforehand with a bruised foot.
Without Parole sports the colours of US owner-breeder John Gunther, who is in the news on the other side of the Atlantic as breeder of this year's Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner Justify.
Judging by Without Parole's easy win on the all-weather at Newcastle last December and his latest six-length demolition of subsequent winner Ostillo in a mile novice stakes at Yarmouth in April, Gunther looks to have produced another gem.
His daughter Tanya, who part-owns Without Parole, said on Wednesday: "We think a lot of the colt. He needs to step up, this level of competition is the next step, so he'll need to meet that and we hope he will.
"There are a few in there with a decent chance and are respected."
Gosden said: "Without Parole missed the Guineas with a stone bruise to his foot but is well over that now and has pleased us in his work since then, including on turf last weekend.
"He's an inexperienced horse, but there's improvement to come. He should be suited by the stiff mile and we expect him to get further in time."
Perhaps the Heron's last big-name winner was Proclamation in 2005, when the race was run at Goodwood – he went on to win the Sussex Stakes at the same track a couple of months later.
Stoute has two
Sir Michael Stoute has won the Heron ten times and is two-handed with Regal Reality and Gabr, both of whom were bred by Cheveley Park Stud, who also have Glendevon in the line-up.
Gabr, owned by Hamdan Al Maktoum, is the more streetwise of the Stoute pair having run four times as a juvenile, winning once at Yarmouth before signing off with a decent fifth to Saxon Warrior in the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy.
In contrast, Regal Reality was seen just once when justifying strong support in a 7f maiden at Yarmouth in September. He is the mount of Ryan Moore, who has won the race four times.
Stoute said: "Gabr has been pleasing us in his work and will enjoy the ground.
"Regal Reality is also a horse we like and this will tell us more about him as regards what trip he wants. Both are in good shape."
Rocket to fire?
Ed Walker says he has a "steam engine taking on an aeroplane" in the shape of Stephensons Rocket, who is dropping back in trip after failing to settle in a Listed contest at Newmarket last time.
However, the son of Teofilo was beaten only three and a quarter lengths when fifth that day and that form was franked when runner-up Old Persian won a Listed race at the weekend.
Walker said: "John Gosden's horse looks like a bit of an aeroplane and we're just a steam engine in comparison, but he can be forgiven his last run as he didn't settle.
"We hold him in high regard but it looks a hot race this year. Hopefully he'll race properly this time."
Silver to Medal?
There is more than just one son of Frankel in the race as Hugo Palmer fields Silver Quartz, an impressive winner on his second start at Windsor this month.
The trainer said: "James Doyle was very impressed with Silver Quartz at Windsor and suggested coming here, so we're giving it a go.
"If Without Parole is a Group 1 horse then we're all in trouble, but he deserves to take his chance."
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