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Top Irish sprinter primed for July Cup bid

There are few better tutors of sprinters in the game than Eddie Lynam, and the shrewd trainer has confirmed Irish star Romantic Proposal is firmly on course for Saturday's Darley July Cup, where the six-year-old will bid to emulate the exploits of former stable star Slade Power, who won the race in 2014.

An unsatisfactory scope forced connections to skip the King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot, but last season's Group 1 Flying Five Stakes heroine previously looked as good as ever when winning on her comeback in Listed company at Naas in April.

Despite her biggest success – when beating global performer A Case Of You at the Curragh last September – coming over five furlongs, Lynam has high hopes that the six-furlong test at Newmarket will prove no problem for Romantic Proposal.

Having made the first four starts of her career over a mile or extended mile, the daughter of Raven's Pass has been brought along exquisitely to seemingly get faster with age.

Lynam said: "The plan is for her to run this weekend and she goes there in good form. About ten days before Royal Ascot she had a dirty scope and it took her a couple of weeks to shake it off.

"She still wasn't clear by the end of Royal Ascot so it held us up a bit, but we're happy with her now."

Lynam added: "She won a Scurry Handicap over an extended six furlongs a couple of years ago, although she may have been well handicapped off 83 that day.

"Her last run over six furlongs came on Irish Derby weekend last year, and she was very impressive when winning a Listed race then. We're definitely very hopeful about the trip."

Chris Hayes has struck up an excellent relationship with the Clipper Logistics-owned sprinter, winning on three of their five appearances when joining forces.

The multiple Classic-winning rider is looking forward to renewing that association on the 16-1 shot on Saturday.

Hayes said: "She's a very smart sprinter. The draw will be very important to her as she loves to tailgate, so it's important to her that she's drawn next to speed so she can track the pace. On her day, she's very, very good.’"

Connections would have been disappointed to miss out on a crack at the King's Stand, but Lynam acknowledged impressive winner Nature Strip would have been extremely difficult to beat even if his high-class mare had appeared at the royal meeting.

"It would have taken an aeroplane to beat Nature Strip – he looked very special," said Lynam.

"Obviously there's a bigger gap between runs for us than we'd have liked, but she's very well and there aren't many Group 1s of this nature around.

"This is a lovely one to have a go at, so hopefully she gives a very good account of herself."

Darley July Cup (Saturday, 4.25 Newmarket)

BoyleSports: 2 Perfect Power, 100-30 Artorius, 9-2 Creative Force, 11-2 Naval Crown, 8 Flaming Rib, 14 Cadamosto, 16 Romantic Proposal, Alcohol Free, Happy Romance, 20 bar.

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