Roger Varian’s Daahyeh returns to action for the first time since finishing a meritorious second at the Breeders’ Cup when she runs in the John Guest Racing British EBF Stakes at Ascot.
A fruitful first campaign, in which she was also second to Love in the Moyglare Stud Stakes, culminated in a trip to America, where she was beaten by Sharing.
A setback delayed her return, but David Egan, who won twice on her last season – including the Albany Stakes – is looking forward to getting back on board.
“We’ve not seen her on track this year as she had a little setback, but I’m sure she will be spot on for Saturday and I’m hoping she can get back to her best,” said Egan.
“She has obviously got the form in the book having been second in the Breeders’ Cup and being a Royal Ascot winner, so she is the one to beat. They’ve done plenty of work with her and Roger feels she is fit and ready to go and make her mark for the year.
“She is back at seven furlongs having run over a mile at the Breeders’ Cup, but she won the Rockfel over seven and the Albany over six, so she is not short of speed. I think an Ascot seven is well within her capabilities.
“I wouldn’t want it bottomless for her, but anything would be fine as long as it is not exaggerated.”
Another Royal Ascot winner, Charlie Fellowes’ Onassis, once again has the assistance of Hayley Turner, having finished fourth in a Doncaster Group Three last time out.
The Newmarket trainer said: “The form of the Doncaster race worked out very nicely when Cloak Of Spirits (fifth) and Bounce The Blues (third) went and ran first and second in that race (Rosemary Stakes) the other day.
“She loves Ascot – her run style really suits it, and seven furlongs with cut in the ground, which it’s going to be, is perfect.
“We’re ready to go – she’s in good form, and it will be absolutely ideal for her.”
Fellowes, meanwhile, is similarly enthused by the prospects of King Ottokar, also over seven furlongs, in the tote.co.uk Challenge Cup – having at last, he believes, worked out what makes the talented son of Motivator tick.
“King Ottokar has been a real head-scratcher,” he said.
“I’ve never made any secret of how highly I regard this horse.
“(But) he was going nowhere in the spring – he showed me nothing, and I was really disappointed with his work.
“He ran poorly twice, and then we gelded him, and I put a visor on him at home – and it was like a different horse. The horse I had last year returned.
“He showed me much more speed than he’d shown me all year, much more speed.
“He’s much better on soft ground, and confirmed that the other day. It looks like we’re probably going to get his conditions this weekend.”
King Ottokar faces 17 rivals in a hugely-competitive heat, including Clive Cox’s duo of River Nymph and Wise Counsel.
Cox is also represented in the John Guest Bengough Stakes by Snazzy Jazzy, who wears first-time cheekpieces.
“He is in the form of his life at home. I’ve put some cheekpieces on him as I just think he would help his concentration,” said Cox.
“We’ve moved between six and seven furlongs with him, but I don’t know what happened last time at Goodwood. The one thing we can do is sleep easy with all this rain about as the more rain the better for him.”
In the same race, The Tin Man returns to a track where he has won two Group Ones for James Fanshawe.
“We know he acts with cut in the ground, but there is a lot forecast and when it gets to extremes you just don’t know,” said Fanshawe.
“As far as the horse is concerned he’s really well and we are running in a Group Three rather than a Group One, so hopefully he’ll find it a bit easier.
“He’s in good form, he’s been working well so we’ll see how he gets on.”
In the tote.co.uk Rous Stakes over five furlongs Tiz Marvellous carries the hopes of Cox, along with the three-year-old Star In The Making.
“Tiz Marvellous often turns up in races like this,” said Cox.
“He surprised me when he won the conditions race at Leicester on soft ground because I’ve always believed he wanted better ground. Even if it is really wet we are going to take a chance with him as it is his last run of the season.
“It is a bit of a big step for Star In The Making to take but she enjoys the ground, she is in excellent form and when you have got a filly in form at this time of year it pays to be brave.
“We going to have a crack at getting some black type on her page.”