The late Derby absent Mohaafeth has the chance to strut the Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot on Thursday.
William Haggas wondered if he should run his exciting colt in the Classic after the heavy rains the day before.
He’s decided to keep his powder dry and aim for Ascot instead – but with the forecast for thunderstorms, the Newmarket manager fears his luck will be jeopardized again.
However, there seems to be no way he will not show up following a promise made to Sheikha Hissa, daughter of the late Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, who founded the Shadwell Estate Company.
“He obviously doesn’t want a lot of rain but he’s going to run, I promised Sheikha Hissa he’ll run at Ascot anyway,” Haggas said.
“It’s just like that, it’s typical.
“Everything’s been going well with him, he’s in great shape and he’s a really lovely horse, we just won’t see him at his best on soft ground – but that’s how it is.
“He’s still going to have a good race, he’s doing very well.”
Charlie Appleby’s One Ruler took part in the derby won by his teammate Adayar and finished sixth, just like he did in the 2000 Guineas. Appleby also runs Secret Protector.
Aidan O’Brien is portrayed by Roman Empire, who was fourth in Dante when ridden by Hollie Doyle, and Matchless.
Weather aside, it promises to be a good day for Haggas, with Second Wind in the Norfolk Stakes and Aldaary in Buckingham Palace bearing high hopes.
Unbeaten in two starts so far, with his last run at Salisbury bolstered by the runner-up since, Second Wind would like the rain to come, as he prepares to face the pair formed by Wesley Ward of Lucci and Nakatomi.
Haggas said: “I think he will enjoy digging in the ground and that might not help Wesley’s horses, so I was very keen to give it a try. There were cuts in the ground when he won at Salisbury, I think he likes that. “
Aldaary was last seen finishing third at Goodwood, and Haggas listened to jockey Jim Crowley make his way to Buckingham Palace.
The Newmarket handler said: “He’s an interesting horse. He’s a good horse. He was too far behind Rhoscolyn last time.
“It was really Jim Crowley’s idea to come for that, I hadn’t thought about it for a minute. I didn’t want to go for the Britannia because he would have been almost the heaviest weight. Jim said if I had considered Buckingham Palace I hadn’t, but I did and thought it was perfect. “
Back in Norfolk, the aforementioned Ward appears to favor the Lucci ridden by John Velazquez over his stable mate, although the latter recorded strong speed beating his stable mate Happy Soul in his only run at this day.
Credit for this effort was later seen when Happy Soul absolutely fled to Belmont Park. Qatar Racing bought Nakatomi after his victory and as a result Oisin Murphy takes over.
Ward said: “At home we worked Lucci and Nakatomi together. Nakatomi was coming out on top but then they practiced at Newmarket on the Limekilns and Lucci turned it around. He just bounced straight forward and would not give up the head. “
There are plenty more to watch too, in what appears to be a strong Norfolk revival, among them Cadamosto once ridden by O’Brien and the Instinctive Move driven by Clive Cox, the Derby-winning rider’s mount Adam Kirby.
Another coach who looks forward to his chances on Matchday 3 is George Scott, leading among them George Peabody in Britannia.
Progressive with two victories in the company of novices this year, the Holy Roman Emperor’s gelding is making its handicap bow – in what has been a long-term plan.
Scott said: “We’ve been aiming for this race for a very long time. He was impressive in Doncaster and then followed a penalty in Thirsk. He’s a cool horse to train, very relaxed and straightforward.
“Obviously we need a tremendous amount of luck, but I couldn’t be happier with him.”
Stablemate Too Friendly runs in the same colors as Bill and Tim Gredley, as he goes in the King Edward V Stakes.
The Camelot colt won well at Doncaster in March, leading to a crack at the Blue Riband Trial at Epsom, finishing sixth behind Wirko.
Scott said: “I’m really happy with his preparation. Looking back I think Epsom came a bit quick for him after his win at Doncaster so we deliberately put him aside and waited for Ascot.
“He’s wearing cheeks for the first time and they seemed to have had an effect at home.”
Among King George’s opponents is Sir Lamorak, coached by O’Brien, winner at Dundalk in March and subsequently impressive in a Leopardstown handicap.
Ryan Moore climbs up and tells Betfair: “He doesn’t want a lot of rain, but I think he has a big run in him if the ground stays decent. He can weigh 15 pounds heavier than when I won at Leopardstown in April, must have been very impressed with what he did that day, and I think he’s a good colt. And I hope he’s better than his current mark of 100. “
An intriguing Ribblesdale Stakes revival has attracted the impeccably high midday star of Sir Michael Stoute – a late Oaks defector but whose three-quarters length behind Snowfall in the Musidora does not now have the slightly underwhelming appearance of what ‘he might have at the time.
She gets the chance to show off what could have been in Epsom as she takes on O’Brien’s Oaks Divinely third, while Mark Johnston’s Dubai Fountain also runs after being well beaten in the classic, for which it has attracted a flood of support in the market beforehand.