David Griffiths reports his two sprinting stalwarts Ornate and Duke Of Firenze to be in top form for another visit to Epsom for the World Pool “Dash” Handicap.
Saturday’s five-furlong heat was not run last year because of the coronavirus pandemic, but Ornate took the prize when it was last run in 2019.
His stablemate Duke Of Firenze, successful in 2013 when in the care of Sir Michael Stoute, was an unlucky seventh.
Ornate is set to make a quick reappearance after making the early running when down the field behind King’s Lynn in the Listed Achilles Stakes at Haydock at the weekend.
Griffiths said: “Ornate ran well on Saturday. I needed get a run into him.
“He had a good winter and ran really well – he got a bit tired and probably got a little bogged down in that (heavy) ground at Haydock.
“The top mark is only 102. Two years ago the top mark was 110, so I don’t think it will be the best renewal of the Dash we’ve seen.”
Twelve-year-old Duke Of Firenze, who finished third over the course and distance in April, will also prefer the quicker conditions after two under-par efforts on testing ground at Catterick.
“Arguably, if he hadn’t got stopped in his run two years ago, he would have been second and possibly even beat Ornate,” said his Bawtry trainer.
“He got stopped before the furlong pole.
“Hopefully he’ll get in off a light weight, and Laura Pearson can ride him. She’s won on him a couple of times. He’s in good form and he likes Epsom.
“We are going into the race pretty confident with both of them.”
Caspian Prince, another 12-year-old, has a remarkable record in this sprint – having won it three times in 2014, 2016 and 2017, all for different trainers but not yet for his current handler Mick Appleby.
Other old favourites among the 27 entries are Dark Shot and Blue De Vega, who were second and third respectively in 2019.
Elsewhere on Saturday’s high-profile card, Century Dream may try to win the Cazoo Diomed Stakes for a third time.
Successful in 2018 and 2020 – at Newbury, on the second occasion – the Simon and Ed Crisford-trained seven-year-old is one of 11 entries for the Group Three over an extended mile.
Potential rivals include Bell Rock, Duke Of Hazzard, Marie’s Diamond and Prince Eiji.
Maamora is an interesting possible runner for the Crisford team in the Princess Elizabeth Stakes, sponsored by Cazoo.
The five-year-old gained a notable scalp in Classic winner Billesdon Brook when taking the Group Three Atalanta Stakes at Sandown in August.
The 12 entries for this Group Three over an extended mile include Illykato, Nazuna, Posted and Statement.