Burrows backs Minzaal to bounce back

Minzaal bids to bounce back from Royal Ascot disappointment in the bet365 Hackwood Stakes at Newbury.

The 2020 Gimcrack winner only made it to the racecourse on two occasions last season, but a third place on Champions Day at Ascot offered significant hope for the future.

With a creditable comeback run in the 1895 Duke of York Stakes under his belt, connections were anticipating a bold showing in the Platinum Jubilee last month, but he finished 13th of the 24 runners.

Trainer Owen Burrows feels the application of cheek pieces may have backfired in Berkshire and with the headgear taken off, he is hopeful Minzaal will show his true colours in Saturday’s Group Three.

“Obviously we were a bit disappointed with him at Royal Ascot, but to be fair to the horse it’s the first time he’s finished out of the frame,” said the Lambourn-based trainer.

“Jim (Crowley) just felt he travelled a bit too well and didn’t quite see his race out. We thought it was a big day and didn’t want to leave any stone unturned, but the cheek pieces might have lit him up too much. He was still only beaten about four lengths.

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“We’re in a little bit calmer waters on Saturday and we’re hopeful he can get back on track.”

Last year’s Hackwood heroine Happy Romance returns to defend her crown – turning out just a week after being beaten less than six lengths into eighth place in the July Cup at Newmarket.

Richard Hannon’s filly had previous finished seventh in the Platinum Jubilee, before which she was placed in Saudi Arabia and Dubai.

Happy Romance won last year's Hackwood Stakes
Happy Romance won last year’s Hackwood Stakes (David Davies/PA)

Hannon said: “She’s a good, tough filly and we hope she will run well.”

The David Evans-trained Rohaan returned from a spell in the wilderness to register back-to-back wins in the Wokingham Stakes at the Royal meeting on his latest outing.

The Welsh handler is now keeping his fingers crossed his stable star can continue his resurgence on Saturday under Hollie Doyle, who partners the four-year-old for the first time.

“He seems to be just as well as he was before Ascot. Let’s hope we’ve got to the bottom of his problem and he can be a bit more consistent because the ability is there,” said Evans.

“I ride him most days and he feels good, so we’re looking forward to it.

“They’re saying it’s good ground, so they must be watering it well. I can’t see it being rock hard, anyway, so I wouldn’t be blaming the ground or the draw (stall two).

“Hollie started with me and I can’t believe what she’s done and what she’s still doing. It’s nice to get her on and it will be great if she performs on him.”

Charlie Appleby steps Man Of Promise back up in distance after finishing in midfield behind Australian speedball Nature Strip in the King’s Stand last month.

“Man Of Promise has come out of Royal Ascot well. On the draw side of things, he was probably challenged there,” the trainer told the Godolphin website.

“This race looks a good opportunity for him to get his head back in front and I feel he is going there in great order.

“If he brings anywhere near his Dubai form to the table, it should make him very competitive.”

Go Bears Go is another horse looking to put a Royal Ascot no-show behind him, having failed to fire when a leading fancy for the Commonwealth Cup.

His trainer, David Loughnane, said: “We are really happy with him. He didn’t run his race at Ascot. He just over-heated on the day. Whether it was the occasion or whatever, it was just not him at all.

Go Bears Go (centre) winning at Ascot earlier this year
Go Bears Go (centre) winning at Ascot earlier this year (John Walton/PA)

“We kind of knew in the parade ring he wasn’t himself that day and so we just put a line through it.

“He’s in great form and I couldn’t be happier with him. It is a competitive-looking Group Three and he has every right to be there.”

Other contenders in a fiercely-competitive affair include Diligent Harry (Clive Cox), Run To Freedom (Henry Candy) and Chil Chil (Andrew Balding), with the latter running for the first time since finishing third in Haydock’s Sprint Cup in September.

“She has been off a while which is a concern, but her work has been up to the usual high standard and it looks a strong race,” said Balding.

“I would hope she can be competitive, despite the fact she has been off for a long while.”

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