Top jockeys Hollie Doyle and David Egan head a strong British contingent travelling to Sweden on Sunday for Stockholm Cup day at Bro Park, one of the highlights of the Scandinavian racing calendar.
The riders have had to dodge international Covid-19 travel restrictions – the Swedish government has currently imposed a ban on UK nationals from entering the country – meaning those travelling must be double vaccinated and have proof of a negative PCR test before being granted special permission to enter.
Detailing the measures needed to ensure safe travel over, Egan said: "We needed to get a special agreement to allow us to come and we needed to be double vaccinated and have a PCR test, but thankfully we all jumped through the hoops.
"We’re flying over privately because the flights over weren’t suitable for everyone and we weren’t guaranteed to get over there in time."
The feature contest is the Group 3 Stockholm Cup International (4.10) in which Egan rides experienced campaigner Red Verdon for Ed Dunlop, while Doyle partners Fred Archer Stakes winner Outbox for Archie Watson.
Doyle, making the trip to compete on Stockholm Cup day for the second time, said: "I went last year for Archie and rode Maystar [in the Sprint Championship], so I’m familiar with the course, which is good. It’s a nice track and has a sharp turn, so it takes a bit of getting home.
"Outbox has been running really well all year, apart from maybe his runs at Goodwood, and I think he’ll run a big race."
Egan is also experiencing Bro Park for the second time and is confident in the chances of Red Verdon, who was last seen finishing a close third in the Group 2 Prix Kergorlay at Deauville last month.
He said: “He won at Sandown earlier in the year and he’s a pretty consistent sort who travels well. He’s been all over the world, so he’s a top performer and I think he’ll be very competitive in a race like this.
"Bro Park is a grand course and from looking at the website it said the tickets are sold out, so hopefully it will be a good atmosphere."
Among their eight rivals for the Stockholm Cup is the Niels Petersen-trained local star Square De Luynes, who is aiming for a third straight victory in the race and will be ridden by Pat Cosgrave, who has a trio of rides on the card for the Swedish trainer.
British or Irish jockeys have won the last three runnings of the Stockholm Cup after Fran Berry struck on the David Menuisier-trained Thundering Blue in 2018 before Square De Luynes scored for Rab Havlin in 2019 and Cosgrave last year.
Lambourn trainer Watson saddles Stone Soldier, who will be ridden by Luke Morris in the Tattersalls Nickes Minneslopning (2.00), while Egan takes the first of two rides for Jane Chapple-Hyam on Ambassadorial in the same race
Egan also rides the Mick Channon-trained filly Dalanijujo in the Lanwades Stud Stakes (3.15) before getting a third chance of Listed success on Chapple-Hyam's Aplomb in the Bro Park Sprint Championship (4.45), in which Watson employs Doyle and Morris on Mighty Gurkha and Corinthia Knight respectively.