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Caspian Prince out to continue Dash domination

Veteran sprinter Caspian Prince bids to win the World Pool “Dash” Handicap for a fourth time from seven attempts at Epsom on Saturday.

The admirable 12-year-old has taken the prize for three different trainers – Tony Carroll in 2014, Dean Ivory in 2016 and Tony Coyle in 2017.

He has also finished down the field three times – for Carroll in 2015 and in 2018 and 2019 for his current trainer Mick Appleby.

The Rutland-based handler reports his stable stalwart to be in fine shape, although he would have preferred a higher draw than four.

Mick Appleby, trainer of Dash regular Caspian Prince
Mick Appleby, trainer of Dash regular Caspian Prince (Mike Egerton/PA)

“He’s in good order. Hopefully he should run well,” said Appleby.

“He’s not got the best draw, though. We could have done with a better one and I hope they don’t get much rain.”

In contrast, Tim Easterby is hoping for easier conditions and is not sure if high numbers for his two runners – 19 for Sunday Sovereign and 16 for Copper Knight – is as much as advantage as it used to be.

“You don’t have to be drawn high these days. A lot of the winners have been coming from low recently,” he said.

“Both are in good form and as long as the ground is good and not too firm, both will run well. The softer the better for both of them.”

Two past winners – Ornate in 2019 and Duke Of Firenze in 2013 – represent Bawtry trainer David Griffiths.

Ornate was in action only last Saturday in the Listed Achilles Stakes won by King’s Lynn, and Griffiths feels that is what he needed ahead of going for the Dash again.

“He came out of the race really well. He had a good blow. He runs off a good mark,” said Griffiths.

“He’s in good form, he loves Epsom and I think his run at Haydock last week will have put him spot on Saturday.”

Duke Of Firenze, who is aged 12, sneaks into the contest right at the bottom and runs off a feather weight.

He has been as busy as ever and will be running for the 15th time in 2021, including on this course when he was third to Recon Mission in April.

“He’s had two wins this year. He’s been running well and ran well at Epsom,” said Griffiths.

“He didn’t run brilliant the last twice, but that’s probably because of the (soft) ground and he likes Epsom. He comes alive there.”

Century Dream goes for a third win in the Cazoo Diomed Stakes.

Trained by Simon and Ed Crisford, the seven-year-old was successful in 2018 and again last year when it was run at Newbury.

Duke Of Hazzard makes his first appearance at Epsom but connections expect him to handle the track.

The five-year-old, trained by Paul and Oliver Cole, is a three-time winner at Goodwood which has similar undulations.

Duke Of Hazzard goes for the Cazoo Diomed Stakes
Duke Of Hazzard goes for the Cazoo Diomed Stakes (Joe Giddens/PA)

“He’s in the best form of his life. We’re very happy with his work. He’s a well-balanced horse so I think the track will suit him,” said Oliver Cole.

A fascinating contender would have been Maximal as the only three-year-old in the field, but persistent rain on Friday led to him being declared a non runner.

The Galileo colt, trained by Sir Michael Stoute, has finished second behind two Classic hopefuls, Hurricane Lane (Cazoo Derby) and El Drama (French Derby) in two races over a mile and a quarter in the spring.

There are four three-year-old fillies in the other Group Three on the card, the Princess Elizabeth Stakes.

Martyn Meade, trainer of Statement, believes the 12lb allowance given to the younger fillies could help give her the upper hand.

Martyn Meade is expecting a big run from Statement in the Princess Elizabeth Stakes
Martyn Meade is expecting a big run from Statement in the Princess Elizabeth Stakes (Nigel French/PA)

“It is a very generous weight allowance and she is in great form. I think she’s pretty well in,” said the Manton handler.

“It’s a different race to what she has run in before, but I think she can step up to that taking on older fillies.”

Illykato, Nazuna and Thank You Next are the other three, while the older ones include two five-year-olds in Maamora and Posted.

David Griffiths lining up dual assault on Epsom Dash

David Griffiths reports his two sprinting stalwarts Ornate and Duke Of Firenze to be in top form for another visit to Epsom for the World Pool “Dash” Handicap.

Saturday’s five-furlong heat was not run last year because of the coronavirus pandemic, but Ornate took the prize when it was last run in 2019.

His stablemate Duke Of Firenze, successful in 2013 when in the care of Sir Michael Stoute, was an unlucky seventh.

Ornate is set to make a quick reappearance after making the early running when down the field behind King’s Lynn in the Listed Achilles Stakes at Haydock at the weekend.

Griffiths said: “Ornate ran well on Saturday. I needed get a run into him.

“He had a good winter and ran really well – he got a bit tired and probably got a little bogged down in that (heavy) ground at Haydock.

“The top mark is only 102. Two years ago the top mark was 110, so I don’t think it will be the best renewal of the Dash we’ve seen.”

Twelve-year-old Duke Of Firenze, who finished third over the course and distance in April, will also prefer the quicker conditions after two under-par efforts on testing ground at Catterick.

“Arguably, if he hadn’t got stopped in his run two years ago, he would have been second and possibly even beat Ornate,” said his Bawtry trainer.

“He got stopped before the furlong pole.

“Hopefully he’ll get in off a light weight, and Laura Pearson can ride him. She’s won on him a couple of times. He’s in good form and he likes Epsom.

“We are going into the race pretty confident with both of them.”

Caspian Prince, another 12-year-old, has a remarkable record in this sprint – having won it three times in 2014, 2016 and 2017, all for different trainers but not yet for his current handler Mick Appleby.

Other old favourites among the 27 entries are Dark Shot and Blue De Vega, who were second and third respectively in 2019.

Elsewhere on Saturday’s high-profile card, Century Dream may try to win the Cazoo Diomed Stakes for a third time.

Successful in 2018 and 2020 – at Newbury, on the second occasion – the Simon and Ed Crisford-trained seven-year-old is one of 11 entries for the Group Three over an extended mile.

Potential rivals include Bell Rock, Duke Of Hazzard, Marie’s Diamond and Prince Eiji.

Maamora is an interesting possible runner for the Crisford team in the Princess Elizabeth Stakes, sponsored by Cazoo.

The five-year-old gained a notable scalp in Classic winner Billesdon Brook when taking the Group Three Atalanta Stakes at Sandown in August.

The 12 entries for this Group Three over an extended mile include Illykato, Nazuna, Posted and Statement.