Charlie Johnston expects to see another “bold show” from Dance In The Grass, who will attempt to put her course and distance form to good use when bidding to maintain her unbeaten record in the European Bloodstock News EBF Star Stakes at Sandown Park on Thursday (21stJuly).
Having caused a 20-1 upset on debut when striking gold against the colts in a seven-furlong maiden at the track last month the daughter of Cracksman, who Johnston trains in partnership with his father Mark, will now look to add to that success on Thursday in the Listed feature over the same course and distance.
Racing close to the pace throughout on her debut Dance In The Grass showed a commendable attitude in the hands of three-times champion jockey Silvestre De Sousa before going on to score by a comfortable two lengths.
The form of the Jaber Abdullah-owned filly’s debut success has already been given a significant boost after runner-up One Nation opened his account back at Sandown Park earlier this month. which has given Johnston further cause for optimism.
Johnston, whose father won the race in 2015 with Fireglow and in 2019 with Walk In Marrakesh, said: “Before she had even pulled up first time out at the track this race had already sprung to mind as a potential plan and it looks the obvious place to go next.
“It is a race we often target. We won it with Walk In Marrakesh a couple of years ago and Dubai Fountain was placed in it (2nd, 2020). We always like to run a nice filly in it.
“She will have to step forward from her last run but you can’t knock the form of her debut run as the second (One Nation) has since gone back and won there.
“It is the obvious place to go as it is the same course and distance, the same jockey is on her and the ground is pretty similar. We are expecting another bold show.
“A couple in there have finished mid-division in Group races so she has got a little bit too find but hopefully she will do that with natural progression.”
Dance In The Grass was sent off a relatively unfancied 20-1 chance for her racecourse debut, however Johnston admits he was confident she would out-run her price tag on that occasion.
He added: “Albeit the market didn’t rate her chance we went there expecting her to acquit herself well even though it looked a tough maiden against the colts.
“If you wanted to play devil’s advocate you could say they gave her an easy lead and allowed her to have her own way in front.
“Those in behind probably thought they had her covered and she would come back to them at the two pole but she didn’t need a lot of encouraging from Silvestre to keep them all at bay and fend them off.
“She was still pretty green but you would like to think that experience would bring her forward and Silvestre was confident there was more in the tank if he needed it.”
2:25pm European Bloodstock News EBF Star Stakes (Listed Race) 7f
1 (4) Bet Me (IRE) 2 9 2 Westerberg Richard Hannon Ryan Moore
2 (6) Dance In The Grass 2 9 2Jaber Abdullah Charlie & Mark Johnston Silvestre De Sousa
3 (3) Fairy Cross (IRE) 2 9 2 Godolphin Charlie Appleby William Buick
4 (1) Ibiza Love (IRE) 2 9 2 Roudee Racing Hugo Palmer Ben Curtis
5 (5) Inanna (IRE) 2 9 2 Sean Woods Sean Woods Tom Marquand
6 (7) Ipanema Princess (IRE) 2 9 2 Mr D. de Souza Amy Murphy Stefano Cherchi
7 (9) Lady Alara (IRE) 2 9 2 Alara Investments Limited Charles Hills Kieran Shoemark
8 (2) Mlle Chanel 2 9 2 Kirsten Rausing Andrew Balding David Probert
9 (10) Pure Gold 2 9 2 Hurst-Brown, Ham, Needham David Menuisier Frankie Dettori
10 (8) Tagline 2 9 2 Mainline Racing Rod Millman Jamie Spencer
10 declared runners
By Graham Clark/The Jockey Club
Photo: Sandown Park/The Jockey Club Logo