Owen Burrows reports Tabdeed in fine shape for his bid to record back-to-back victories in the bet365 Hackwood Stakes at Newbury.
The six-year-old has had more than his fair share of problems – which have restricted him to just 10 starts in five seasons – but he showed when a close fourth in Newcastle’s Chipchase Stakes last month, on his first run for 294 days, that he retains plenty of ability.
Tabdeed was obviously a little ring-rusty and short on match fitness but he was beaten only two lengths in that Group Three contest won by Chil Chil.
“I’ve been very pleased with him since the Chipchase, and I was pleased with the run,” said Burrows.
“He just got a bit tired in the last half a furlong – which he was entitled to.”
Tabdeed faces Group Three company again on Saturday, over his favoured six-furlong trip, with good ground set to prevail as it did when he beat The Tin Man 12 months ago.
Burrows added: “Conditions are very similar to last year, so it would be nice if the result could be the same.
“It’s a decent race, a Group Three, they’re not easy. Her Majesty’s horse (King’s Lynn) was a bit unlucky at Ascot a couple of times, and Diligent Harry was just in front of us at Newcastle.
“There are only seven in it, but you could make a case for all of them.”
Diligent Harry is set to have his first run on turf after five careers starts – all this year and on the all-weather.
Trainer Clive Cox hopes the three-year-old colt can continue his improvement as he switches surfaces.
“He’s having his first run on turf, and I’m hoping he can translate his promise and progress on the all-weather across to the turf,” said Cox.
“We’re very pleased with him.
“He had an entry in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot, but that would have been an ambitious step for a youngster who is progressing – and this made far more sense.”
Charlie Appleby is hoping Royal Crusade can rediscover his form of 12 months ago.
Since he beat Glen Shiel at Deauville last summer, the Shamardal colt has failed to shine in two runs at Meydan in March and also in the Criterion Stakes over an extra furlong at Newmarket on his return.
“Royal Crusade has been a little disappointing so far this year,” Appleby told www.godolphin.com.
“We felt that stepping up to seven furlongs might suit in the Criterion Stakes, but things didn’t work out for him.”
As well as the Andrew Balding-trained King’s Lynn, seventh in the King’s Stand Stakes and third in the Wokingham at the Royal meeting, the field comprises Charlie Hills’ Royal Commando, Martyn Meade’s Method and the three-year-old filly Happy Romance, from the Richard Hannon stable.