Little Big Bear Back To Best In Sandy Lane Stakes
Group 1 winner Little Big Bear (3c No Nay Never - Adventure Seeker, by Bering) returned to his brilliant best when running out a stylish winner of the Group 2 Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock.
The Aidan O’Brien-trained colt was crowned champion two-year-old after his wide margin win in the Group Phoenix Stakes, but failed to stay the trip on return in the 2,000 Guineas. Dropping back to six furlongs on Saturday, he was sent off the even-money favourite on his preferred firmer ground and was ridden prominently by Frankie Dettori. Leading from over a furlong out, he quickened clear under hands and heels and was eased down close home to win by a length and a quarter. The winning margin belied the impressively easy nature of Little Big Bear’s success, though the further eight lengths back to the third hints at the winner’s class.
Speaking after the race, Dettori said, “He was a champion two-year-old, he's got big figures and he's come back to his best today. I always had the race covered. I just pushed him out with hands and heels. The last 20 yards I eased off, he'd got the job done. It was a good confidence-booster ahead of the Commonwealth.”
Little Big Bear is now a short-priced favourite for the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot, where he won the Windsor Castle Stakes last season. The three-time Group winner is owned by Coolmore partners and Westerberg, having been bought as a yearling for €320,000. The son of No Nay Never was bred by Camas Park and Summerhill out of Adventure Seeker, whose No Nay Never colt fetched 500,000gns at the 2022 yearling sales.