All eyes on Logician at start of big weekend for Juddmonte

Logician takes another tentative step on his route back to the top level in Saturday’s tote.co.uk Cumberland Lodge Stakes at Ascot.

John Gosden’s grey is still unbeaten and won last year’s St Leger at Doncaster, but fell seriously ill over the winter with peritonitis which can be a life-threatening condition.

Thankfully he made a full recovery and returned to action at this year’s Leger meeting after a year off the track, beating his sole rival with ease.

“Given how serious his illness was over the winter we were delighted with how Doncaster went in every way and everyone has been very pleased with him since,” said Teddy Grimthorpe, owner Khalid Abdullah’s racing manager.

“All his work at home suggests he’s in very good form – it’s encouraging. Rab (Havlin) rode him last year and rides him a lot at home so he knows him well.”

The ground at Ascot is expected to be pretty testing come the race, but Grimthorpe is not unduly concerned unless it became bottomless.

“We always thought he would handle soft ground. If it gets extreme, what I call specialist areas, then that is an unknown, but I think he’d certainly handle it soft,” said Grimthorpe.

“His dam, Scuffle, never ran on anything like it’s going to be, but his dad, Frankel, of course won a Champion Stakes on bottomless ground on Champions Day so there is some encouragement.

“This looks a nice race for him, a Group Three without a penalty, but like all these things the reality is never quite what you imagine.

“He’s going into the race in good form, we’re all happy with him and have been since Doncaster. Of course there is some trepidation, mainly because of the infection he had over the winter, but hopefully he’s over it.”

Logician running just 24 hours before Enable’s bid for history in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in some ways is helping keep Grimthorpe’s nerves at bay.

It is a big weekend for the Juddmonte Farms operation, managed by Teddy Grimthorpe
It is a big weekend for the Juddmonte Farms operation, managed by Teddy Grimthorpe (Mike Egerton/PA)

“This weekend is why we are in the game, for these great moments,” he said.

“We have an unbeaten Classic winner running on Saturday and a great racemare going for a third Arc on Sunday, it doesn’t get much bigger than that.

“For everyone, from Prince Khalid downwards at Juddmonte, it’s exciting and this is what it is all about. If you didn’t get nervous you clearly don’t care.”

Chief opposition to Logician is Andrew Balding’s Morando, winner of the race last year, and the Kingclere handler also runs Alounak.

Morando was an easy winner of the Cumberland Lodge last year
Morando was an easy winner of the Cumberland Lodge last year (Steve Paston/PA)

“This was always the plan for Alounak. But obviously, when the weather forecast looked like it did, (we thought) it could just be an opportunity for Morando – who won it last year. Both are in good form, and both would be competitive,” Balding told Sky Sports Racing.

“Morando won it well last year – he loves soft ground. He just got caught out at Chester last time – it was probably the ground had dried up a bit.

“He’s in great form. Our aim was the two-miler on Champions Day, which it still is, and going here won’t stop us doing that.”

Balding, though, is well aware they both have Logician to beat.

“He’s a superstar horse really, so it won’t be easy. But if a lot of rain comes that will certainly play to Morando’s strengths,” he said.