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Lucarno returns for Sandown's showpiece; in association with Pagebet.

Byline: MOSCROP

RACING next week sees the big guns keeping their powder dry for Epsom.

That said, there is still a nice symmetry about the action over the next seven days.

Decent fare is on offer throughout the week, during which Sandown's card is of particular interest on Thursday, with the best evening card of the year.

In addition to two Listed events, the Esher course stage the Group Two Betfair Henry II Stakes and the Group Three Betfair Brigadier Gerard Stakes.

The Henry II Stakes over two miles was particularly informative 12 months ago as winner Allegretto went on to land the Goodwood Cup and the Group One Prix Royal-Oak at Longchamp.

Yorkshire Cup runner-up Royal And Regal has been earmarked as a possible runner at this stage in a race which invariably throws up one or two stayers for the future.

But arguably of more interest this year is the Brigadier Gerard, which is likely to see the much-anticipated return of St Leger hero Lucarno.

John Gosden's tough campaigner faces a marked drop in trip in this 10- furlong event but has always travelled like a class horse in his races. It will be interesting to see if he can make his mark in the top middle-distance events this term.

One day earlier in Yorkshire, several Royal Ascot hopefuls get the chance to flex their muscles in the Hilary Needler Trophy at Beverley.

The Bank Holiday Monday calendar is also plenty of fun but there is serious money to be had at Redcar, who stage the totesport betXtra Zetland Gold Cup - worth an alluring pounds 50,000.

Saturday's action is slightly less frenetic than usual but Haydock do their best with another fine afternoon of sport in Merseyside.

The Timeform Silver Salver is always of pertinence, while the Group Three JW Lees Stakes - the old John of Gaunt Stakes - catches the eye.

York also proudly fly the flag, this time showcasing the National Express Scottish Sprint Cup and the Listed Stowe Family Law Grand Cup.

Goodwood is additionally likely to be well attended, with a decent card offering a few competitive handicaps and one valuable Listed heat worth pounds 30,000.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:May 24, 2008
Words:363
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