2:30 Wolverhampton – HOTEL & CONFERENCING AT WOLVERHAMPTON SELLING STAKES (CLASS 6) (3-4yo) Standard 5f20y
If Sonko was running in a Class 4 Handicap at Wolverhampton this afternoon she would have been of interest as she has an excellent record running on the all weather of three wins and 1 placed effort from five starts. However, she is dropping into selling company for the first time since her juvenile season because her owner, Dr Marwan Koukash is trying to get to 100 winners in the calendar year and currently stands on the 81 mark.
A quick look at the Official ratings show that Sonko has got 11lbs in hand on her nearest rival Airborne Again who is also dropping down in Class, yet is only carries 1lb more than the grey gelding. Sonko has not had the best of seasons and the 3 year old bay filly has only won once so far which was back in January on the all weather track at Lingfield. She has not won on the flat turf since August 2011 when she won off a mark of 62. She has been running off marks in the mid 80’s all summer so the fact that she has finished 2nd twice off 85 shows that she does have ability off higher marks.
However, she is back on the all weather today for the first time since January and although she has not raced at Wolverhampton before she has won twice and finished 2nd once in four runs on the polytrack surface. She has also won at Lingfield over today’s trip of 5 furlongs which has a similar layout to Wolverhampton in that it is left handed and with the 5 furlong course taking in a bend.
She has a decent overall record over 5 furlongs as she has won 4 times and been placed 5 times from 16 runs over the trip. Moreover, three of her four runs on the polytrack have come over the minimum trip and she has won twice and finished 2nd once with her wins coming in a Class 6 Claimer and a Class 5 Handicap. She has also won over 5 furlongs on the polytrack surface at Southwell, which is her only run at the track to date.
She is ridden by the excellent Graham Lee for the first time. The ex jumps jockey has made a superb transition to the flat riding 61 winners to date. Considering he did not start his flat career until April and did not ride his first winner until May it is not surprising that he is now being booked for rides by trainers of the calibre of Sir Michael Stoute. His star has risen so fast that he even had a ride at Longchamp yesterday when he guided High Jinx to 2nd place in the Group 1 Prix Du Cadran for James Fanshawe.
Sonko’s trainer Tim Pitt is very sweet on her chances today and wrote on his blog earlier: ‘Sonko looks to have a solid favourites chance in the seller. She is well clear on ratings and has a better profile on sand than turf and her form figures read 1121 in four starts on the all weather.’ She has a huge chance of winning today given that she has run so well at 5 furlongs on the polytrack on all of her runs on it to date. If she was competing in a handicap she would be giving the rest of the field a minimum of 11lbs, yet she is not even top weight this afternoon and is confidently expected to win.