10/9/09: Classic-winning trainer Ralph Beckett is confident that Without A Prayer is not without a chance in the £65,000 Group Three totesport.com Sovereign Stakes (4.15pm) on Thursday, 13 August, the highlight of the two-day Salisbury Splendour Summer Festival. 

Salisbury Splendour Summer Festival takes place on Wednesday, 12 August and 13 Thursday, August and is the pinnacle of the season at the Wiltshire venue. The popular meeting offers racegoers the thrill of fantastic racing alongside a fun and family-friendly atmosphere.

Without A Prayer is among 20 horses entered for what again promises to be a fantastic renewal of the totesport.com Sovereign Stakes over a mile. 

The four-year-old colt had last year’s totesport.com Sovereign Stakes one-two Ordnance Row and Laa Rayb in arrears when winning a Listed contest at Windsor on 27 June, before running below par in the Group Two Summer Mile at Ascot two weeks later.

Beckett, who trains at Whitsbury Manor, revealed: “It is the plan to run Without A Prayer in the totesport.com Sovereign Stakes. I felt I ran him back too quickly at Ascot last time, so I’m confident that he will run well at Salisbury next week. He won nicely at Windsor the time before and I think you can put a line through Ascot. For whatever reason, he got himself in a bit of a state. 

“He won a Listed race over 10 furlongs at Deauville last season but he seems to have got quicker as he has aged. It seems unusual but he seems to be better over a mile. My only worry would be if we were to see a lot of rain because he wants fast ground to be seen at his best.” 

Sir Michael Stoute saddled Confront to finish second in the Group Two Summer Mile last time and could run the Khalid Abdulla-owned colt in the Salisbury showpiece. 

Zafisio, winner of the Group One Criterium International at Saint-Cloud in November before finishing runner-up in this season’s German 2,000 Guineas, has been entered by trainer Roger Curtis.

Ordnance Row saw off the Mark Johnston-trained Laa Rayb to win last year’s totesport.com Sovereign Stakes and the pair could renew rivalry. Group Three winner Laa Rayb landed a prestigious handicap at Glorious Goodwood last time and has been engaged alongside stablemate Lovelace, successful in a German Group Two contest in September.

As well as Ordnance Row, Richard Hannon has entered Bunbury Cup victor Plum Pudding and Vitznau, while Irish trainer Jim Bolger could saddle dual Group Three winner Vocalised.

Godolphin won the totesport.com Sovereign Stakes with the classy pair of Layman (2005) and Belenus (2006). Trainer Saeed bin Suroor has entered an exciting quartet consisting of Group Two victor Democrate, Group Three winner Ashram, Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf hero Donativum and Group Two scorer Orizaba.

The last-named was runner-up to the Michael Jarvis-trained Khateeb in a Pontefract Listed race last time. Jarvis has also entered juvenile Group Three victor Sri Putra, who showed his wellbeing with a heritage handicap triumph at Ascot on 25 July.

The entry also includes the Stef Liddiard-trained Mac Love, successful in the Group Three Diomed Stakes at Epsom in June.

Awarded Group Three status in 2004, that year’s running of the totesport.com Sovereign Stakes produced a thrilling finish as the high-class Norse Dancer led in the final strides to prevail by a short-head from subsequent Group One Queen Elizabeth II Stakes runner-up Lucky Story, with Group Two winner Hurricane Alan in third.