Godolphin Stud And Stable Staff Awards Challenge Stakes (Group 2) | 7f | 3yo+ | ITV4/RUK
After some tough assignments over a mile and then back sprinting in the July Cup, Henry Candy has taken his time this summer to revive the spark in Limato with a couple of successful Listed outings.
Limato, photo Liesl King
They were both over six furlongs and, after rain scuppered a planned run in the Bengough Stakes at Ascot last Saturday, Limato now tackles the seven-furlong trip at which he scored one of his most memorable successes in the 2016 Prix de la Foret.
"We're perfectly happy with Limato and I'm hopeful he's now in similar form to when he won this race so well last year," said Candy.
Limato could well be sent off favourite, while fellow crowd-pleaser Gordon Lord Byron is likely to be available at generous odds for a race in which he was third last year.
Not that such matters will bother Tom Hogan, who gives the leg up to Danny Tudhope, the 22nd jockey to ride Gordon Lord Byron in public.
Hogan said: "This will be only his 70th stakes race! He’s in great form. It’s funny, his best runs have come in the best races he’s contested as he gets the fast pace he needs.
"The ground should be perfect for him and we’re hoping for another good run. We’re delighted with him."
D'Bai out to build on Doncaster near miss
It is difficult to ignore the progression D’Bai has shown at this trip during 2018, having won a Meydan handicap in January and the Group 3 John of Gaunt Stakes at Haydock, before going close in the Group 2 Lennox and Park Stakes at Goodwood and Doncaster.
While the son of Dubawi has also shown good form at six furlongs, this seems to be his optimum distance, and it was only a hugely-determined Mustashry that denied him a first success at this level by a neck last time.
"We were very happy with D’bai’s latest run at Doncaster and a repeat of that effort should put him bang there," said trainer Charlie Appleby.
Another contender to come here off the back of a fine effort on Town Moor is Dancing Star, who landed the Group 3 Sceptre Stakes against her own sex, having previously relished the extra furlong when Andrew Balding first tried her at the trip in a narrow defeat at Goodwood in August.
What they say
David Simcock, trainer of Breton Rock
I blame myself for running him back a week later at Goodwood. I don’t think I did the horse any favours and might have paid the penalty for it, but this is a race we always target. He seems well at home, although we don’t do a lot with him. He looks woolly in his jacket but he's a horse that often surprises us and can pop up when we least expect it. We’ll go there with a very open mind.
William Haggas, trainer of Mankib
He lost his way a bit but is in a rich vein of form now. I don’t know why I ran him on the all-weather, but he was good at Newbury. This is quite a step up but he's a nice horse. I don’t know what he'll be like on the ground and the track.
Clive Cox, trainer of Zonderland
It's a drop in trip but he likes top of the ground and it’s likely that, looking ahead at the forecast, this might be the last chance of that. He did lose a shoe in his last start at Newmarket but he’s come back well so we'll give him another shot. The ground remaining on the better side is the reason for taking the opportunity.