Calyx out to blitz rivals again in Sandy Lane to set up Commonwealth Cup tilt

Armstrong Aggregates Sandy Lane Stakes | Group 2 | 6f | 3yo| ITV4/RTV

Calyx went so fast at Ascot last time he blew Frankie Dettori's cap right off and replacement Rab Havlin may well have to hold on to his at Haydock.

Dettori steers Calyx to victory in the Coventry Stakes, photo Liesl King

Since that electric return in the Group 3 Pavilion Stakes, the John Gosden-trained speedster has evoked memories of his sire Kingman such has been his prowess under the Scottish-born jockey on the Newmarket gallops.

As well as at home, Havlin knows about Calyx on the track having partnered him to his debut success at Newmarket last June to set up his stunning victory in the Coventry Stakes a few weeks later.

Although injury wiped out the remainder of his juvenile campaign, Khalid Abdullah's colt has roared back as good as ever this spring and sidestepped the 2,000 Guineas to concentrate on a tilt at the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot next month.

A best-priced 6-4 for that sprinting prize, Calyx bids to emulate Quiet Reflection who bagged this before going onto glory in Berkshire in 2016.

Gosden said: "Calyx is in good form and took so little out of himself at Ascot that we thought we'd have a look at this. He's only had three runs in his career and the Sandy Lane is very well placed on the calendar as a stepping stone to the Commonwealth Cup."

With only three opponents, the long odds-on favourite may even have to make the running. Gosden added: "He's pretty versatile but there looks to be some speedy types in there."

The dangers 

Chief among the three threats appears to be Hello Youmzain who is back in trip having failed to stay seven furlongs in the Group 3 Greenham Stakes on his reappearance at Newbury last month.

Bruce Raymond, racing manager to owner Jaber Abdullah said: "Hello Youmzain didn't stay last time in the Greenham and this is more his trip. I don't know if he's good enough to beat Calyx but he's a good horse in his own right."

Of the other pair, Royal Intervention represents Andrew Lloyd Webber just ten minutes before Too Darn Hot runs in the Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh.

The daughter of Exceed and Excel is entitled to have come on for her comeback when weakening into fourth in a Listed race at Chelmsford but is almost guaranteed some more black type.

The field is made up by True Mason who was placed at Group 1 level last year and finished fourth in a Group 3 at Chantilly on his return last month.

Trainer Karl Burke said: "He ideally wants a bit of cut in the ground, like a lot of Maysons, and conditions don't look to be heading in his favour but the race has cut up, with Calyx frightening a fair few off.

"True Mason ran okay first time out at Chantilly but we don't think he put his best foot forward there so he has visors on here."