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Glen Shiel raring to go on return to scene of his finest hour

Glen Shiel returns to the scene of his finest hour, with conditions set to be very much in his favour, in Saturday’s Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.

The seven-year-old landed the British Champions Sprint on soft ground at the Berkshire track last October, giving rider Hollie Doyle a first Group One success in the process, and the duo will team up again in the six-furlong feature on the final day of the Royal meeting.

Glen Shiel already has a run under his belt this term, having finished fourth in the Greenlands Stakes at the Curragh last month, and Simon Turner, racing director for owners Hambleton Racing, reports Archie Watson’s charge to have progressed for the run.

Hollie Doyle will be aboard Glen Shiel once again
Hollie Doyle will be aboard Glen Shiel once again (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

He said: “Obviously we welcome the rain at Ascot and he’s in great condition at home.

“He’s come on for his reappearance run in Ireland and we couldn’t be happier with him.”

Glen Shiel has shortened in the market for the Diamond Jubilee following the rain, and Turner thinks plenty more will support him with his ability to act on soft ground.

He added: “It was testing ground when he won there in the autumn and while he handles it, I don’t think he needs it. It probably just doesn’t inconvenience him as much as some of the others.

“We are excited to run him and I think plenty of people will latch on to Glen as he has that soft ground form, and he certainly deserves to be in the conversation.”

Dreams Of Dreams (nearest to camera) was just denied last year
Dreams Of Dreams (nearest to camera) was just denied last year (Julian Finney/PA)

Dream Of Dreams is reported to be in tip-top shape as he bids to atone for narrow defeats in the last two runnings of the race.

The Sir Michael Stoute-trained sprinter failed by just a head to peg back Blue Point in 2019 and went down by the same margin to Hello Youmzain 12 months ago.

He did manage to get that elusive success at the highest level in Haydock’s Sprint Cup in September and warmed up for a third crack at this coveted prize with a smooth victory over Garrus at Windsor last month.

“He’s going very good at home,” said Bruce Raymond, racing manager to owner Saeed Suhail.

“He couldn’t be better, you just don’t know about the draw (three) but with 14 runners it shouldn’t make much difference.

“He’s working very well and he couldn’t be better.”

Nahaarr represents William Haggas
Nahaarr represents William Haggas (Steven Cargill/PA)

William Haggas thinks Nahaarr will be better with cut.

“Nahaarr ran a very good race in the Duke of York,” said the Newmarket handler.

“I think he might be a little bit better with a bit of cut in the ground. If they go fast and he can wait a bit I think he’ll come home well.”

Ventura Rebel was fifth behind Starman at York on his seasonal debut, but his excellent course form could put him in the picture.

His trainer Richard Fahey said: “He’s been to Ascot three times and he’s won there (at the May meeting), he’s been second (as a two-year-old in the Norfolk Stakes) and he’s been third (to Golden Horde in last year’s Commonwealth Cup).

“He loves the track and I was delighted with his comeback run at York, which doesn’t really suit him. He’s been training exceptionally well and while I’m not saying he’ll win, I won’t be shocked if he runs a big race.”

Royal Commando (centre, green/white cap) is one of two runners for trainer Charlie Hills
Royal Commando (centre, green/white cap) is one of two runners for trainer Charlie Hills (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Charlie Hills expects his two runners, Royal Commando and Garrus, to do themselves justice.

“Royal Commando’s win in the Cammidge Trophy has worked out well,” said the Lambourn trainer.

“We would have run in between in Ireland, but the ground wasn’t great so we’ve come straight here. He was fourth in the Commonwealth Cup last year and I’m happy with his training, so I think he should run well at a decent price.

“Garrus has really stepped up this year and I can see him running a huge race.”

Tim Easterby’s grey Art Power has sound claims, while the German-trained Namos and Irish Group Three winner Sonaiyla add further spice to an intriguing contest

Starman set to miss Diamond Jubilee date

Ed Walker will assess conditions at Ascot on Friday, but concedes Starman is “pretty unlikely” to line up in Saturday’s Diamond Jubilee Stakes.

The four-year-old had been the ante-post favourite for the six-furlong feature on the final day of the meeting before deluge of rain arrived in Berkshire overnight, turning the ground to heavy and forcing an inspection before racing.

Starman has won four of his five starts to date, with his only disappointing effort coming on soft ground over six furlongs at Ascot in October, and Walker feels conditions have gone against his stable star.

He said: “I think it’s pretty unlikely he will run. I’ve got a runner in the last race, so I’ll have a good look at the track and make a call, but I’d say it’s pretty unlikely.

“His only defeat so far came on soft ground here last year.

“It’s frustrating as not only is it a lovely opportunity at Royal Ascot, but some of the other races he might go for, like the Maurice de Gheest and the Sprint Cup at Haydock, are often run on soft ground, so it’s frustrating to lose a summer target to freakish weather.”

Starman holds an entry for next month’s July Cup at Newmarket and Walker added: “We’ve just got to hope the weather improves and it dries up now.

“He is entered in the July Cup, so that is an option if the ground dried up.”

The wet weather also forced the withdrawal of Walker’s Coronation Stakes contender Premio Bacio.

Newmarket is also an option for the filly, who impressed in victory at York.

Walker said: “I’m not sure where we will go yet.

“The Coronation had been her target since she crossed the line at York, so it’s frustrating we couldn’t run.

“She’s in the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket, so we could have a look at that, but the ground would have to improve.”

Starman tops 13 in Diamond Jubilee

Starman will take on 13 rivals as he bids for a first Group One victory in Saturday’s Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Ed Walker’s charge made rapid strides last term, winning his first three starts before meeting with a first defeat when upped in company to the highest level on soft ground on Champions Day.

The four-year-old made a victorious start to 2021 when landing the Duke of York Stakes, where he beat the reopposing Nahaarr – trained by William Haggas – by a neck.

Summerghand (fourth), Ventura Rebel (fifth), Art Power (sixth), Emaraaty Ana (seventh) and Final Song (ninth) will all also try to reverse York form at Ascot.

The third home, Oxted, won the King’s Stand earlier in the week.

Dream Of Dreams was just denied by Hello Youmzain this race last year and he is back for more, while Glen Shiel, who landed the British Champions Sprint last autumn, returns to Group One level after finishing fourth in Ireland on his seasonal bow.

Ballyogan Stakes winner Sonaiyla is the sole Irish-trained runner for Paddy Twomey while Namos represents German trainer Dominik Moser.

Charlie Hills’ pair of Garrus and Royal Commando complete the field along with Happy Power, who is trained by Andrew Balding.

Broome headlines a four-strong team for Aidan O’Brien in the Hardwicke Stakes.

The five-year-old failed to sparkle in 2020, but has been in fine form so far this year, winning his first three starts before going down by just a short head to Helvic Dream in the Group One Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh last month.

Japan and Mogul finished third and sixth respectively in the Coronation Cup at Epsom two weeks ago and they line up again along with Tiger Moth, who finished second in last year’s Melbourne Cup but trailed home last in the Tattersalls Gold Cup on his return.

Hukum heads the home defence for Owen Burrows after winning a Goodwood Listed heat last time, with Haggas upping Ilaraab significantly in company to Group Two level after winning six handicaps on the bounce and rising to a rating of 111.

Haggas has a second string in Pablo Escobarr, while Wonderful Tonight, a dual Group One winner for David Menuisier at the end of last year, is set to make her seasonal bow.

Mark Johnston’s duo of Sir Ron Priestley and Thunderous, plus Bangkok, Deja, Highest Ground, Logician and Albaflora round out 15 declared runners.

A field of 19 runners has been declared for the Jersey Stakes, with Creative Force, Naval Crown and Khartoum prominent in the betting, while O’Brien’s Point Lonsdale leads 10 declarations for the Chesham Stakes.

The Wokingham has drawn a maximum field of 28 plus three reserves, with Snazzy Jazzy carrying top weight under claimer Laura Pearson.

A full field of 19 will go to post for the Golden Gates Stakes, with three reserves waiting in the wings, while 20 run in the Queen Alexandra Stakes, including Chester Cup hero Falcon Eight.

Starman tops 16 hunting Diamond Jubilee honours

Ed Walker’s Starman heads 16 confirmations for Saturday’s Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.

The four-year-old has raced five times in his life, winning four starts with his only defeat coming on soft ground on Champions Day.

He returned to action this season with a win in Duke of York Stakes, beating the reopposing Nahaarr by a neck.

Archie Watson’s Glen Shiel was victorious on Champions Day and he returns to the scene of his finest hour.

Having provided Hollie Doyle with a first Group One winner, he is expected to strip fitter than on his seasonal return in Ireland when he finished fourth.

Sir Michael Stoute’s Dream Of Dreams is the same age as Glen Shiel as a seven-year-old and will be looking to go one better than when narrowly beaten by Hello Youmzain 12 months ago.

Last year’s winner, who has been retired, was trained by Kevin Ryan who this year relies on Emaraaty Ana.

Northern trainers are well represented with Tim Easterby’s Art Power, the David O’Meara-trained Summerghand and Ventura Rebel from Richard Fahey’s yard also in the mix

There is interest from overseas in the shape of Dominik Moser’s German runner Namos, while there are two Irish-trained runners, Harry’s Bar for Ado McGuinness and Paddy Twomey’s mare Sonaiyla.

Cape Byron, Garrus, Happy Power, Royal Commando and Final Song complete the list.