Horses owned by Sheikh Mohammed have been a dominant force in the Sandown Guineas over the past decade and Beau Geste will be out to continue the trend.
Godolphin’s Australian trainer James Cummings has Beau Geste in Saturday’s Group Two 1600m Sandown Guineas for three-year-olds with the colt a slight favourite to give Sheikh Mohammed’s operation its sixth win in the race since 2008.
Peter Snowden trained the winners of four Sandown Guineas between 2008 and 2013 when he was head trainer for Sheikh Mohammed’s Australian team under the Darley banner, while John O’Shea prepared Morton’s Fork to win in the famous royal blue Godolphin colours last year.
Cummings took over from O’Shea as the operation’s Australian trainer earlier this year and will be chasing his first Sandown Guineas win.
Beau Geste closed strongly for fourth in the traditional Guineas lead-up, the Group Three Carbine Club Stakes (1600m) at Flemington last Saturday week, finishing slightly ahead of dual Listed winner Snitzepeg.
Beau Geste was the $4.60 favourite on Friday, shading Snitzepeg at $4.80.
“He’s come a long way this prep and he goes to Sandown on Saturday with the right lead up to this race,” Cummings said.
“I thought he closed off well in the Carbine Club. It was a run that told us he was entitled to his chance.
“He’ll go for a spell after this and it would be a big thrill to see him go out a winner.”
Snowden, who now trains in partnership with his son Paul, has two chances in Saturday’s race and says he will be disappointed if Hypnotist and Icon Of Dubai are not competitive.
Icon Of Dubai will be one of three colts wearing blinkers for the first time, along with the Aaron Purcell-trained Black Sail and Mick Price-trained Octabello.
Snitzepeg is one of two runners for Victoria’s premier trainer Darren Weir who won the race with Mahuta in 2015.
Damien Oliver and Kerrin McEvoy have both won four Sandown Guineas, with Oliver to ride Octabello on Saturday while McEvoy is aboard Hypnotist.
The John McArdle-trained I’ll Have A Bit is the only filly in the 11-horse field.
Cayambe is the most recent filly to win in 2005.