Tom Clover hoping for more Royal Ascot riches with Rogue Lightning

Rogue Lightning, purchased for £1 million by powerful owners Wathnan Racing, is expected to take a considerable leap forward from his seasonal reappearance when he lines up in the King Charles III Stakes on the opening day of Royal Ascot on Tuesday.

The four-year-old was one of the most improved horses of last season after a gelding operation and being equipped with a hood, winning three times before ending his campaign with a luckless fifth in the Group 1 Prix de l'Abbaye. 

He made a pleasing first start for Wathnan Racing when beaten only three and a half lengths into sixth on his seasonal return behind Kerdos in the Temple Stakes and trainer Tom Clover is of the view he had plenty go against him that day.

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"I thought he ran a really solid race," said Clover. "The ground was a little bit easy for him. He was drawn out on the wing and the race developed down the middle of the track, but it was a nice prep run.

"He's really fast and his fifth in the Abbaye last year was a good run from a difficult draw. He didn't have much luck at all, so fingers crossed he can build on that now."

Rogue Lightning's run at Haydock was just his tenth start and Clover believes the 10-1 shot has what it takes to be competitive at Royal Ascot against the likes of Big Evs and Australian filly Asfoora, before a possible step up in trip for the July Cup over six furlongs.

Clover said: "A lot of these sprinters tend to need a run to sharpen them up and it certainly seems to have done that. He's come forward from it at home and he's shaping up lovely. It's all systems go for Ascot and it's really exciting.

"In his work we think he's done well from three to four, and hopefully he'll show it on the track. He was progressive for the second half of the season last year and I do feel he's a summer horse – that's when he comes to hand."

Clover has already tasted success at the royal meeting after striking with Rogue Millennium in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes last year, and he is looking forward to tackling Group 1 company this time round. 

"It's a special place," he said. "It's very difficult to win there, but the problem is once you've done it once all you want is to do it again. You dream about being at the top table throughout the year and it's great to have a chance in a race like this.

"It's also great to have the support of Wathnan Racing – the pressure is a privilege."

The Royal Ascot meeting is on next week from Tuesday through to Saturday, picture Liesl King