Charlie Appleby appears to have a stranglehold on the Unibet Lennox Stakes at Goodwood, with both Space Blues and Creative Force lining up for the Godolphin trainer.
Appleby has enjoyed a dream season, with Adayar and Hurricane Lane dominating the three-year-old middle distance races, but Space Blues and Creative Force will not be hanging about over seven furlongs on Tuesday.
Space Blues won the race 12 months ago, while three-year-old Creative Force had his winning streak brought to an end in the July Cup but lost little in defeat when just two lengths behind Starman.
“He’s a past winner of the Lennox and is part of the furniture at Moulton Paddocks,” Appleby said of Space Blues, who disappointed when last seen in the Al Quoz Sprint.
“He hasn’t been seen since running down the field at Meydan. I think now we can quite safely say Meydan is not his track – especially over the six there.
“But we’ve seen in the past what a seven-furlong specialist he is, including at Goodwood.
“He looks fantastic – and of all our runners at Goodwood, he’d be the one I’d be looking forward to. He might not be a Blue Point, but he’s very solid.”
Of Creative Force, the Newmarket trainer told www.godolphin.com: “We are looking forward to stepping (him) back up to seven furlongs – it’s a sharp seven at Goodwood, which will suit him.
“The ground was a bit quick for him at Newmarket last time, but should be more to his liking here. He is a very solid horse, who is getting a three-year-old allowance, and he goes there in great shape.”
Safe Voyage finished fourth in the race 12 months ago for John Quinn, and put two disappointing early-season runs behind him when winning at Chester last time.
Quinn said: “We were very pleased with him at Chester, and he’s come out of the race well.
“He likes Goodwood – he ran well in this race last year. It’s a spicy race, as you’d expect, but we’re hopeful of a big run.
“The rain has come, and cut in the ground is spot on for him.”
As for his two poor runs, Quinn added: “He had a hard time in America at the Breeders’ Cup – it just didn’t work out. The ground was like concrete, and it maybe took him longer to get over it than I first thought.
“In the Lockinge it didn’t work – we got involved in a frenetic early pace, and then he actually ran better than his finishing position at Haydock without quite running up to his best.
“From Haydock we were very happy going into Chester, and it was nice to see him bounce back there.”
Andrew Balding runs Happy Power.
The Kingsclere trainer said: “Happy Power will love the ground. He was a bit disappointing last time, so he’s on a retrieval mission, but he’s a course-and-distance winner and takes his racing well.”
Last year’s third Escobar is also among the eight contenders remaining, after six non-runners were announced because of overnight storms which turned the ground heavy – almost halving the initially-declared field.