Hardwicke Stakes runner-up Mostahdaf is out to go one better in Thursday’s Princess of Wales’s Close Brothers Stakes at Newmarket.
Trained by John and Thady Gosden, the four-year-old chased home Aidan O’Brien’s Group One winner Broome at Royal Ascot.
That was Mostahdaf’s first run over a mile and a half and connections believe he stayed the trip strongly enough to give it another go.
“He ran well at Ascot and we’d be going hopeful rather than confident,” said Angus Gold, racing manager to owners, Shadwell Estate Company.
“The whole point of running in the Hardwicke was to see if he stayed the trip, so from that point of view we’re going there thinking he will get the trip.
“John’s one concern was is this coming a bit soon after Ascot but he’s a four-year-old, he seems to have come out of Ascot well and he doesn’t have to travel.
“He’s quite a tough horse. As a three-year-old he was quite immature but now he’s more mature he should be able to cope with it with any luck.”
His main market rival is Charlie Appleby’s Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Yibir, but he is on something of a retrieval mission following three defeats this season.
“He ran a huge race when second (to Shahryar) in the Sheema Classic in Dubai in March, but he was a bit disappointing (second) in the Jockey Club Stakes on the Rowley Mile, where he has yet to win,” Appleby told www.godolphin.com.
“Then he went to Belmont, where he finished third in the Man o’War Stakes, but the ground went against him.
“Back on quick ground, and on a track which he has shown a liking for, he should run well. He had a break after coming back from New York in May, he looks great and he’s in good order for this. He will be aimed at the Sword Dancer back in the States early next month.”
Appleby also runs Global Storm in the six-runner field, last seen finishing fourth at York.
“He has come forward for that, which was his first run back in the UK in six months. He will not look out of place in this,” said Appleby.
Mark and Charlie Johnston’s Living Legend finished last in both the Coronation Cup and the Hardwicke but had earlier won the Jockey Club Stakes.
He will be ridden by Ryan Moore, who told Betfair: “He beat Yibir in the Jockey Club Stakes earlier in the season and clearly has chances on that run, even if he has picked up a 3lb penalty for that Group Two win.
“He needs to bounce back after failing to beat a horse home on his last two starts, but they were in good races, so he has his chance at his best, even if he looks up against it, in truth, giving weight away all round.”
The Johnstons also run West End Charmer, with Frankie Dettori riding Ralph Beckett’s New Mandate.
The Bahrain Trophy is sometimes seen as a trial for the St Leger and it was won by Yibir 12 months ago.
This year Appleby runs Walk Of Stars, who disappointed in the Derby and has subsequently been gelded.
“We felt he was entitled to be there, but on the day, it was a disappointing run,” Appleby said of Epsom.
“I feel that the gelding operation gives us the best chance of bringing out the racehorse in him. And the signs so far are good.”
Andrew Balding’s Derby fourth Masekela is likely to go off favourite with Queen’s Vase runner-up Zechariah another likely contender.
Handicap fans can get their teeth into the £100,000 Bet365-sponsored six-furlong contest.
A total of 19 three-year-olds are set to go to post with William Haggas’ Khanjar the favourite, despite a 9lb rise for an easy Ripon win last time out for the Shadwell-owned gelding.
“He does look an improving type. He took a while to get it together last year and then we probably ran him on an unsuitable track last time,” said Gold.
“He managed to overcome that. Whether the ground might be quick enough – I’m not saying we’ve been given any reason to think that – but he’s a horse who will hopefully go on improving.”