Al Aasy on trial at Newbury

Al Aasy warms up for a potential tilt at the Qipco Champion Stakes when he has his first start since being gelded at Newbury on Saturday.

The son of Sea The Stars looked destined for the top after registering back-to-back Group Three victories at the Berkshire venue in the spring, and was the 7-4 favourite to make a successful Group One debut in the Coronation Cup at Epsom.

But after travelling smoothly into contention, Al Aasy was outbattled by the admirable Pyledriver, and he was then again beaten a neck by Sir Ron Priestley when odds-on for Newmarket’s Princess of Wales’s Stakes.

With connections deciding to take drastic action after that defeat, William Haggas’ four-year-old makes his first appearance in more than two months in the Dubai Duty Free Legacy Cup, and his trainer is hoping he can earn himself a possible appearance on Champions Day.

“Since we gelded Al Aasy, this was the race I always had in my mind for him, but I do think he wants soft ground,” said Haggas.

“I’m pleased to get him back on the track, but he’ll be a bit rusty.

“I harbour this desire to have a crack at the Champion Stakes over a mile and a quarter on heavy ground if that is what happens, so he needs a run.

“He’ll be better for the race, but I think he’ll run a good race.”

Al Aasy’s four rivals include his stablemate Ilaraab, who bids to bounce back from a disappointing performance when joint-favourite for last month’s Ebor at York.

Ilaraab (left) joins stablemate Al Aasy at Newbury
Ilaraab (left) joins stablemate Al Aasy at Newbury (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Haggas added: “Ilaraab never looked happy in the Ebor. He was drawn wide, and it was almost game over really.

“Tom (Marquand) said he took a false step at the top of the straight, and that was it. We’ll see how we get on – Tom’s on board, and we’ve put cheekpieces on him.

“We need to find out where he’s at, because he was such a nice horse last year and started well this season in the Jorvik (Handicap), but then he’s tailed off – so we need to get on with him and make his mind up a bit.”

Andrew Balding’s course winner Foxes Tales, David Simcock’s outsider Ad Infinitum and Sir Michael Stoute’s Winter Hill Stakes scorer Solid Stone complete the field.

Bruce Raymond, racing manager for Solid Stone’s owner Saeed Suhail, said: “He’s been working extremely well. There’s only five runners, and Ryan Moore has got to go to America, so we’ve got William Buick riding – which is always a plus.

“Obviously this is the right race for him. He’s a good, tough horse.”

Hurricane Ivor makes a swift appearance after winning at Doncaster
Hurricane Ivor makes a swift appearance after winning at Doncaster (Mike Egerton/PA)

The other Group Three on the card is the Dubai International Airport World Trophy, which sees the Haggas-trained Hurricane Ivor step up in class after last weekend’s triumph in the Portland Handicap at Doncaster.

“He’s in good form, and obviously the question is whether this comes too soon. I’m just hoping he can win,” said Haggas.

“He’s four years old now and he looks great. He’s taking his racing well, and the only other time I’ve run him back as quick as this he ran a great race at Ascot when just touched off.

“Last week he got a bit too far back – but since he came to us the two key things that have made a difference, I think, have been gelding him and riding him with a bit more restraint.

“I think he likes passing horses, whereas in France he used to lead a lot, and often when they do that for a long time they sort of wait.”

Hurricane Ivor is taken on by Tis Marvellous, bidding to complete a hat-trick for Clive Cox, and the Charlie Hills-trained Khaadem, who claimed his first victory in more than two years in the Scarbrough Stakes at Doncaster.

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