Chapple-Hyam looking to Intellogent to recapture his best form at Ascot

Jane Chapple-Hyam thinks she may have found the key to previous Group One winner Intellogent, who is set to tackle Wednesday’s Royal Hunt Cup at Ascot.

One of the biggest betting handicaps of the summer, the ultra-competitive cavalry charge over the straight mile is one of the highlights on day two of the Royal meeting.

The Newmarket handler admits she is still getting to know the well-supported Intellogent, who arrived in the yard after Christmas, with the ex-French seven-year-old having failed to run last season for Hughie Morrison.

He has had two outings this term, latterly finishing a length behind New Mandate in the Listed Paradise Stakes over the same course and distance he will encounter on Wednesday.

“He is a little bit quirky,” said Chapple-Hyam. “He is very talented, but he kind of has a mind of his own. We have been working hard to sweeten him up.

“On his Ascot run in the Paradise, just after the line he was on top of them all. He needs a strong pace, which he is going to get in the Hunt Cup.

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“It is a race where you need a bit of luck on your side and you have to see where you are drawn and where the speed is.

“There are a lot of ‘ifs’ but he clearly was a good horse and we have tried to recapture that – he was rated 116 when he won the Group One Prix Jean Prat (in 2018).

“I think we have the found the key, but you don’t know until race-day.”

James McDonald is now set to ride Dark Shift, rather than Intellogent
James McDonald is now set to ride Dark Shift, rather than Intellogent (John Walton/PA)

Crack Australian jockey James McDonald was initially due to ride Intellogent, but he has now been snapped up by Charlie Hills to ride favourite Dark Shift, leaving Chapple-Hyam scrambling to find a replacement.

Though Dark Shift, who has won three of his last four outings – including an easy three-length success at Nottingham last time – needs a handful of horses to come out in order to get a run, McDonald is provisionally booked to ride the current 8-1 market leader.

Chapple-Hyam feels the movement of jockeys is a little unfair on the punters, who have supported Intellogent down from 33-1 to 16-1 in recent days.

She said: “In Australia and America, once you book a jockey, it is job done and you can’t change. Now the jockeys can only ride at one meeting a day (in Britain), I think that should be locked in, unless you are retained stable jockey and there is a non-runner and then you swap.

“If we are trying to do everything right by the punter, it is not fair on those people who might have had a bet on my horse because of the jockey booking.”

Claymore (left) will bid to cause an upset in the Hampton Court
Claymore (left) will bid to cause an upset in the Hampton Court (Tim Goode/PA)

Chapple-Hyam is also hoping Claymore can cause an upset in Thursday’s Group Three Hampton Court Stakes, where the Queen’s Reach For The Moon is hot favourite for the John and Thady Gosden training partnership.

Claymore has had just three career starts and was runner-up to subsequent Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Native Trail in the Craven Stakes on his seasonal bow before a bad draw scuppered his chance in the French Guineas at ParisLongchamp.

Chapple-Hyam said: “It is an interesting race, as clearly the Queen’s horse is the favourite and Frankie Dettori and John Gosden have been very bold about that. I think that is their banker and many people’s banker of the week.

“When Claymore was second in the Craven, the third horse – Hoo Ya Mal – was subsequently second in the Derby and people are forgetting that. I think he has got a bit of a squeak at 14-1.”

She quipped: “How should I say this? I’m not afraid to wreck the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee – it will be ‘off with her head’ if I do!

“He has got to run and take his chance. I would hope for the same going as the Craven meeting (good ground) and they don’t over-water.”

Saffron Beach (right) has a big chance in the Duke Of Cambridge
Saffron Beach (right) has a big chance in the Duke Of Cambridge (Tim Goode/PA)

Yet arguably the Dalham-based trainer’s brightest hope for success at the meeting is Saffron Beach, who lines up as the current second favourite in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes on Wednesday.

Last season’s Group One Sun Chariot winner has not been seen since beaten three and a half lengths by Lord North in the Dubai Turf at Meydan in March.

Chapple-Hyam added: “She is in very good order and I’m very pleased with her.

“She galloped good last Wednesday and we just have to sit tight and wait for Wednesday. All the work is done and there are no concerns about the ground – she goes on anything.”

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