Trainer Roger Varian has issued an upbeat bulletin about Barsanti prior to his appearance in the eight-runner G2 Princess Of Wales’s Arqana Racing Club Stakes, one of numerous highlights on the first day of the three-day Moët & Chandon July Festival at Newmarket’s Adnams July Course on Thursday.
In past years, the mile-and-a-half £100,000 race has produced a number of top-class winners, including 2017 Gold Cup winner Big Orange on two occasions, and, way back in 1989, it was used as a stepping stone to Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe glory for Carroll House by Varian’s training mentor, Michael Jarvis.
Barsanti has been exceptionally consistent since joining Varian two and half years ago, not finishing out of the first three in 11 consecutive starts before running fourth in the G2 Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot last month.
He began his 2018 campaign with a hard-fought neck victory over Mirage Dancer in the listed Buckhounds Stakes at Ascot, and that old rival will be in opposition again on Thursday.
Other leading contenders are the G3 winners Algometer and Muntahaa; Laraaib, second to Poet’s Word in the G3 Brigadier Gerard Stakes; and the 3-year-old Raa Atoll, fresh from his fourth place in the G2 King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot.
The opening day of the Festival is stacked full of quality as there are three other stakes races, not to mention the 20-runner bet365 Handicap Stakes, a £100,000 six furlong event for 3-year-olds.
The £80,000 Arqana July Stakes is a prestigious G2 for juveniles over six furlongs. It has attracted eight runners, including Advertise, runner-up in the G2 Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot, and Van Beethoven, who must carry a 3lb penalty for his recent G2 Railway Stakes success.
The most valuable race on the card is the 1m5f G3 Bahrain Trophy, which has had its prize money increased by 50 per cent from last year to reach the £150,000 mark.
It has an intriguing eight-runner field featuring two classy Aidan O’Brien trainees – Giuseppe Garibaldi and Victory Salute – and First Eleven, a Frankel half-brother to Kingman who finished an unlucky third in the King George V Handicap at Royal Ascot and represents the powerful John Gosden/Frankie Dettori team.
The listed £50,000 Edmondson Hall Solicitors Sir Henry Cecil Stakes over a mile has a number of potentially top class 3-year-olds among its 12 declared runners, most notably Gabr, denied a clear run when sixth in the G1 St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot on his latest outing.
Varian said, “Barsanti has come out of his run in the Hardwicke Stakes in good shape – he looks well and is training well.
“Nothing has come to light to explain his performance in the Hardwicke, where he was right there turning for home but did not finish off the race as we would have liked. Even so, he was not beaten very far.
“I can’t see any reason why the July Course will be a problem and the combination of a mile and a half and fast ground ought to suit him pretty well.
“It looks a warm renewal. It’s a competitive race. Barsanti put up a strong performance when just beating Mirage Dancer at Ascot in May and a repeat of that would see him right in the mix on Thursday.”