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Haqeeqy has Royal Hunt Cup in sights

Lincoln winner Haqeeqy will aim to get back to winning ways in the Royal Hunt Cup at Ascot.

John Gosden’s four-year-old looked booked for big things when he won the first major handicap of the season so impressively at Doncaster.

However, upped to Listed class next time out, the Lope De Vega gelding was beaten a length and a half into fourth by Richard Hannon’s durable Oh This Is Us – who came out and franked the form at Epsom last week.

“He won the Lincoln well but didn’t seem to fire at Ascot last time, so we’ve freshened him up,” said Gosden, as he prepares Haqeeqy for Wednesday’s ultra-competitive handicap.

“He’s a sweet horse, a little bit sensitive about life, so I’m hoping being covered up will suit him – I think he likes to be buried and run on late.

“It didn’t happen last time at Ascot – we tried to come down the wing, and it didn’t work out.

“He went through a breeze-up sale, and it tends to just fry their brains, and we’ve always been slightly trying to come back from being a horse who wants to do things the wrong way round in a bit of a hurry.”

On Tuesday, Gosden will attempt to win the Coventry Stakes for just the third time when both Tolstoy and Dhabab will represent him in the Group Two.

Iceman in 2004 and Calyx in 2018 are his only winners of the race to date.

“Rab (Havlin) will keep the ride on Dhabab, while Frankie (Dettori) rides Tolstoy,” said the Newmarket trainer.

“They are two lovely horses – but it’s a big, open race where a lot of them are just maiden winners.

“The smart one in Ireland of Fozzy’s (Stack, Castle Star) hasn’t come over, but it will (still) be highly competitive.

“They’ll probably go in two groups – so you need to think of all the little conundrums, like where the pace is.”

Haqeeqy and Eastern World to square up in Lincoln

Market leaders Haqeeqy and Eastern World are among a maximum field of 22 declared for the Unibet Lincoln Handicap at Doncaster.

Haqeeqy bids to be a first big-race winner for father-and-son partnership John and Thady Gosden, with their dual licence for the start of the new Flat season. He is drawn towards the middle in stall 10 on Saturday.

Haqeeqy has had just five races – while fellow four-year-old Eastern World is also unexposed, having had only seven starts for trainer Charlie Appleby.

A 5lb penalty for winning at Meydan in February ensured he got in the race, and he will race from stall 19.

The weights are headed by another four-year-old, Johan, trained by William Haggas – who has won the big mile handicap four times.

Richard Hughes has a leading contender in Brentford Hope, also four. He is drawn three, and ended last season with victory at Haydock.

Others prominent in the ante-post betting include Karl Burke’s Lincoln Trial winner Born To Be Alive (20), the Owen Burrows-trained Danyah (nine), Charlie Fellowes’ King Ottokar (four) and Grove Ferry (12) from Andrew Balding’s yard.