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07 Aug 2018
Issue Number: Issue 647
Seemar can only hope for another upward performance from North America
Dubai playing a key role in British racing, says Jockey Club boss
Busybody Tadhg looks to scale mountains after climbing Hills
Nass’ trial and error style seems to be working wonders for him
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Sprint stars heading different directions for Sheikh Hamdan

02/07/2018
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COMMONWEALTH CUP hero Eqtidaar could take on his elders for the first time in the Darley July Cup at Newmarket. Sir Michael Stoute’s colt had been beaten on each of his three starts since making a successful racecourse debut at Nottingham last summer, but showed his true colours to claim Royal Ascot glory on the Friday. While connections are in no rush to make concrete plans, the July Cup appears the most obvious next port of call. Angus Gold, racing manager to owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, said: “I think anybody who says they are confident going into a Group One race at Ascot is probably a liar, but he’d worked very well the week before and we hoped he would run a good race. “He looked one of the better maiden winners last year, I thought.

He disappointed in the Sirenia Stakes at Kempton on his next start, but he ran very well to finish second at Ascot in the Pavilion Stakes on his first run back and it was a mess of a race he ran in at Newbury. “I don’t like making excuses for horses, but he had them and it didn’t surprise me to see him go and win.” Gold added: “He seems to have come out of the race fine. “We haven’t made any definite plans for him and I won’t even ask Sir Michael until later on. We’ll see what he and Sheikh Hamdan want to do, but obviously the July Cup is a possible.” Virtually guaranteed not to be among the July Cup opposition is the same owner’s Battaash who is likely to bid for a repeat victory in the King George Stakes at Goodwood following defeat at Royal Ascot.

Having rounded off his 3yo campaign with a stunning Group One victory in the Prix de l’Abbaye at Chantilly, the Charlie Hills-trained speedball made a successful reappearance in the Temple Stakes at Haydock. He was among the leading contenders for the King’s Stand and made much of the running after a trademark lightning fast start before being mowed down late by Godolphin’s Blue Point. Gold said: “I haven’t spoken to Charles since Friday, but he told me the horse seemed to come out of the race OK. “He obviously gave himself a very hard race and he was a tired horse when the winner came to him.

“I think he did surprise Jim Crowley how quickly he broke, as he’d been slowly away at Haydock the time before. He obviously didn’t want to disappoint him or break his stride then and in the end he ended up being a high class pacemaker.” Battaash holds an entry in the July Cup, but Gold confirmed he will not be stepping up to 6f any time soon and is set to head to Goodwood before potentially having a second tilt at the Nunthorpe at York, a race in which he finished fourth last season after playing up in the stalls. “Charles didn’t have the best of weeks at Ascot and maybe Battaash wasn’t at his very best,” Gold continued. “He still finished second, though, so it wasn’t like he disappointed. We’ll probably look towards Goodwood and York again, I’d imagine. “He won’t run in the July Cup. He wouldn’t get 6f in a horsebox on the way he ran the other day!”

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