Acapulco stays away, but Quiet Reflection remains an intended runner in tomorrow’s Temple Stakes at Haydock.
Trainer Karl Burke is praying for rain, and there’s hope that showers will strike during the day, with ground conditions currently described as good to firm. Yesterday the trainer said: “Heavy showers are forecast for Saturday and I'm told the ground was in great shape on Thursday morning, but it is a red-hot day so it's going to dry up a bit more you would have thought. I think it will be a late call and we'll see how the ground is on Saturday.”
She’s undoubtedly the class act, having taken a pair of Group 1s last season, including the Sprint Cup at the track. Those victories came at six furlongs, though the filly is not short of speed. She travelled powerfully throughout her races last term, and though she has the burden of a Group 1 penalty, she should take all the beating, assuming she gets her ground. She also goes well fresh, but all this could prove irrelevant, because if the rain does not arrive at Haydock, Burke will pull her out and wait for Royal Ascot.
In Acapulco’s absence, Ballydoyle look likely to send Washington DC into battle. He’s currently edging favouritism, and is a consistent performer at the highest level. His career victories have all come on quick ground, though he does act on all surfaces. He was second to Marsha at Newmarket last time, and a repeat of that performance will see him go close again. Goldream and Kachy were just behind him that day, and the trio are closely matched, though Goldream is very ground dependant. Aidan O’Brien is yet to win this race, nevertheless I’m sure Washington DC is a major contender.
Robert Cowell will be hoping that the forecast showers stay away, as his eight-year-old Goldream must have quick ground to have any chance of winning. The last horse to win at eight was also trained by Cowell. Kingsgate Native was winning the race for the second time in 2013, and a pair of seven-year-olds have also struck gold in the past dozen years. Goldream is undoubtedly a player if the ground stays fast.
The aforementioned Kachy ran well at Newmarket on seasonal debut, and his trainer Richard Kingscote clearly thinks plenty of him. His best performance last season came in the Commonwealth Cup, when chasing home Quiet Reflection. He had Washington DC a place further back. He looked a little weak last summer, and by all accounts has strengthened considerably over the winter. Five furlongs at Haydock may prove sharp enough for him, and I fancy a couple of these will prove a little too quick.
Trainer Charlie Hills appears confident that his Cotai Glory can go close. “I think he’s well up to this level, and it’s a good slot before Royal Ascot, where he finished second in the King’s Stand last year,” said Hills in his Weekender piece on Wednesday. The horse stumbled leaving the gate at Newmarket last time, and that performance can therefore be forgiven. His King’s Stand second came on soft ground, and like Kachy, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him a little outpaced at some point.
Speed has never been an issue for Take Cover, and despite now reaching the ripe old age of 10, he could still go well if the ground remains quick. He was a terrific third in the Nunthorpe last August, and should he retain his enthusiasm for the battle, I can see him again going well.
Clive Cox took the race 12 months ago with Profitable, and is back with four-year-old Priceless, who represents the same connections. She was a little keen when fifth at Newmarket last time, but this track should be more suitable, and I can see her making a bold bid from the front. She’s progressive, though this is a step-up in class, and she’ll need to improve again.
I think Quiet Refection will win, assuming the rain arrives and she takes her chance. She’s the class act and can defy the penalty. If the ground remains quick, and she is pulled out, it’s Goldream for me to beat Washington DC. The latter has a great chance, but he’s finished runner-up in five of his last 11 starts. I can see him hitting the post yet again.