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Shepherd sweet on Injazati after clear-cut Newbury verdict

Callum Shepherd predicted a bright future for Injazati having partnered Charlie Fellowes’ colt to a smooth success in the valuable Dubai Duty Free Handicap at Newbury.

Winning for the third time in succession, this victory came off a mark of 91 and was achieved with relatively little fuss by two lengths.

Always handy, Shepherd kicked on a good two furlongs from home but never looked in any danger of being caught.

Sam Cooke got closest, while the returning King Leonidas made a nice comeback in third, but they were two lengths away.

“I had no real orders other than to let him jump and find a pitch and I was happy to let him bowl along,” said Shepherd.

“This isn’t a straight he’s encountered before, what with the width of the track and the crowd and things, and he just started to drift towards the rail but he really stuck his neck out and tried.

“I was very impressed. It was my first time riding him and I wouldn’t mind riding him again.

“I think he’s going to be a very good four-year-old. He’s got size and scope and despite signs of rawness, he still finished to good effect.”

Roger Varian’s Dubai Poet ran away with the first division of the Sir David Sieff Novice Stakes.

Fourth on debut at the track last month, he was sent off the 5-6 favourite and pulled five and a half lengths clear.

Unibet introduced him at 40-1 for next year’s Guineas and 50-1 for the Derby.

Dubai Poet was an impressive winner for Roger Varian
Dubai Poet was an impressive winner for Roger Varian (Steve Paston/PA)

Andrea Atzeni was on board and said: “We’ve always thought quite a bit of him. His first run was solid when he finished fourth here and the race is starting to work out.

“He got away with seven furlongs but he probably wants a mile. It was straightforward, he came off the bridle early enough but the further he went, the better he felt. It wouldn’t surprise me if this could be it for him this year.”

The second division went the way of Andrew Balding’s Koy Koy (8-11 favourite) who scooted in by six and a half lengths under champion jockey Oisin Murphy.

Balding said: “He’d run well last time but is improving with racing, he was still a bit raw.

“He’ll be a nice horse next year. It’s probably it for this year now, but we’ll see how he is and see what races are around.”

Jockey coach John Reid was full of praise for 7lb apprentice Mohammed Tabti who looked very polished in guiding Paul and Oliver Cole’s Ivatheengine (15-2) to victory in the Heatherwold Stud Handicap.

“He came over from France, where he had about 50 rides, just over a year ago,” said Reid.

“He doesn’t speak much English, so if he wants to get more outside rides he’ll have to pick up the language, but he’s very tidy.

“I think he’s got a big future, this will do him the world of good, winning at Newbury on a big day.”

Wings Of War prevails in Mill Reef battle

Wings Of War emulated his sire Dark Angel by flying home late to win the Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury.

Dark Angel is now enjoying an illustrious career at stud having retired at the end of his juvenile campaign, producing the likes of Battaash, Harry Angel and Mecca’s Angel, and Clive Cox will be hoping there is plenty more to come from his latest star.

Cox excels with speedsters, having had the likes of Lethal Force, the aforementioned Harry Angel and Supremacy through his hands in recent seasons, and in Wings Of War he looks to have another legitimate contender for top sprinting honours.

A winner at Nottingham in July, he then went close in a valuable sales race at York behind Ever Given but most recently he was a beaten favourite in the Sirenia Stakes at Kempton.

He looked to have plenty on his plate with a furlong to run, too, as Hugo Palmer’s Hierarchy, supplemented for the race on Monday, shot clear under Oisin Murphy.

Derby-winning jockey Adam Kirby clicked into overdrive and began to get a good tune out of his mount and then it became a question of whether the line would come too soon.

To the delight of his connections, Wings Of War (17-2) just managed to prevail by a head, with a length and a half back to Fearby in third.

Cox won the Mill Reef back in 2016 with Harry Angel and was bagging a second nice juvenile prize in two weeks after winning the Flying Childers at Doncaster with Caturra.

“We’ve loved him from the start, but they’ve got to go and do that for you,” said Cox.

“He showed a bit of greenness in his last couple of starts but Adam gave him a good ride today.

“He was good and he was ready for this sort of test today. I just hope and pray he turns out as good as the last winner of this race we had in Harry Angel.

“I’m not sure what we’ll do next, I’ll discuss it with (owner) Sheikh Isa and we’ll do what’s best for the horse. I’m not sure if he’d benefit from another run this year or whether we’ll be looking towards next year.”

He went on: “He’s got a bit of scope and maturity to develop into. He’s always given us plenty of confidence at home that he was a proper horse.

“It’s been a wonderful week, winning the Flying Childers last week and the Mill Reef today, it’s very special.

“I’m delighted for connections and we’ve got a proper horse for next year over six furlongs. I think that’s what he is, I don’t think we need to explore over further, why do we need to, we’ve just won a Group Two.

“Mentally there’s scope for him to improve so there’s the potential for more. He was even on edge when he got here today as there’s a bit going on, more than he’s used to, but as the day has gone on he’s got more at ease and put in a performance to be proud of.”

Paddy Power make Wings Of War a 14-1 chance for next year’s Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot.

Solid Stone digs deep for Group Three gold in Legacy Cup

Sir Michael Stoute’s Solid Stone continued his progression when battling back gamely to win the Dubai Duty Free Legacy Cup Stakes at Newbury.

Third in the Wolferton Stakes at Royal Ascot in June, he had just been coming up short in Listed and Group Three company until last time out at Windsor.

Connections decided on a change of tactics there and he made all the running to win a Group Three, but that meant he was carrying a penalty on this occasion.

William Buick replaced Richard Kingscote in the saddle but adopted the same tactics, however, with over a furlong to run he was swamped.

Odds-on favourite Al Aasy, who appeared to be going well, Foxes Tales and Ilaraab all went by Solid Stone, but Buick was yet to ask for everything.

As Al Aasy folded disappointingly on his first start since being gelded, Solid Stone (12-1) began to hit top gear and by the time the line came, he was going away again to beat Foxes Tales by a neck.

Buick said: “He’s at that level, obviously, he had a 3lb penalty. Al Aasy looked the class horse in the race but he had questions to answer.

“I spoke to Sir Michael and we couldn’t see any pace in the race and given he won from the front at Windsor, we decided to go on and take advantage of it.

“They jumped on him when he was still going through the gears, but you wouldn’t find many horses that have the tenacity that he has. He responded very well.

“I hadn’t gone for everything when they joined me as I could feel him winding up, but it’s not ideal to drop back and then go again at that stage of the race.

“He won going away which would encourage you to try a mile and a half at some stage.”

Hurricane Ivor storms home in Newbury Group Three

Hurricane Ivor handled the step back up to Group Three company with aplomb when showing off his trademark late flourish to win the Dubai International Airport World Trophy Stakes at Newbury.

An improver for William Haggas this season in handicaps, his victory in the Portland over five and a half furlongs at Doncaster last week took his handicap mark up to 107.

The Newmarket handler felt the time was right to take the plunge and return to Pattern company, but the only problem was this race was just seven days after his Town Moor heroics.

Having backed up quickly once already this season at Sandown and Ascot though, Haggas was not too concerned and the four-year-old certainly showed no ill effects.

While he found himself a little outpaced last week, he appeared to travel sweeter on this occasion, despite racing over half a furlong less.

Moss Gill set the early pace with Tis Marvellous and Significantly harrying him, as Tom Marquand tracked them before asking his mount for an effort with just over a furlong to run.

Hurricane Ivor (4-1) had over a length to make up, but just like last week, he was strongest at the finish and ended up winning by a cosy three-quarters of a length from Moss Gill who held on for second.

“To be honest I thought the five furlongs might catch him out today, but I think the ground was a big help,” said Marquand.

“When there is a bit of cut, it brings stamina into the equation and gives him a chance to finish his race off.

“It’s a good performance backing up that quick.”

Maureen Haggas, wife and assistant to William, said: “He was a bit more switched on this week as he was a bit laid back last week, he was a bit brighter.

“He takes a while to get going, but this was half a furlong shorter so he’s done well to win.

“He’s a lovely straightforward horse and just does what you ask him to do – not much more though!

“I don’t know what we’ll do now, he doesn’t mind a bit of dig and it must rain at some point. He could go to France, you never know, he’s done nothing but improve.”

Title frontrunner Murphy hits back with treble

Just 24 hours after William Buick closed the gap to six in the race to be champion jockey courtesy of a treble, the man defending the title, Oisin Murphy, secured a hat-trick of his own at Newbury.

Murphy is now 1-3 favourite with Paddy Power to defend the championship, with Buick a 2-1 chance.

His first winner came in the Dubai Duty Free Nursery Handicap on Ed Walker’s American Star (11-2) – who had been slightly outclassed in the Gimcrack at York but, down in grade and up in trip, proved in a different league to his rivals here.

“David Ward (owner) asked Ed Sackville (bloodstock agent) to buy him a Gimcrack horse – but he found six furlongs too sharp, and we should have run him in the Acomb,” said Walker.

American Star was always in command under Oisin Murphy
American Star was always in command under Oisin Murphy (Steven Paston/PA)

“He did that very nicely, was well-ridden – and it never looked in any doubt to me.

“I’m not sure what we’ll do now. We may go back up in class but we’ll just wait and see – that looked a good race.”

Murphy then made every yard of the running in the feature Dubai Duty Free Cup on Saeed bin Suroor’s Silent Escape (16-5 joint-favourite).

The winner is now heading to Dubai, where there will no doubt be plenty of options for her.

The champion jockey ended the day by winning the Crossland Employment Solicitors Handicap on Andrew Balding’s Neenee’s Choice (13-8 favourite), who himself was scoring for the fourth time in a row.

“He’s just a very honest horse, and Oisin gave him a lovely ride,” said Balding.

“He’s in the Cambridgeshire but he won’t get in it. We’ve no great plans, so we’ll just take stock.”

Heredia showed a smart turn of foot to remain unbeaten
Heredia showed a smart turn of foot to remain unbeaten (Steven Paston/PA)

Heredia potentially threw her name into the hat for one of the big juvenile contests at the end of the season when maintaining her unbeaten record in the Dubai Duty Free Full Of Surprises British EBF Fillies’ Conditions Stakes

The Richard Hannon-trained Dark Angel filly had got off the mark with the minimum of fuss at Windsor 20 days ago – but faced three other previous winners here, including Charlie Appleby’s 4-9 favourite Silk Romance who looked smart when winning at Newmarket.

“She’s a lovely filly, a homebred of Andrew Stones (St Albans Bloodstock) and I have to say (pre-trainer) Malcolm Bastard has done an amazing job,” said Hannon.

“She came to me in June and she’s been really sweet ever since. We thought a bit of her when she went to Windsor, and she won there.

“I’d say that was a smart race – she looked like she enjoyed the seven furlongs, but where we go know I don’t know.

“There are loads of options, but I didn’t want to put her in anything in case she finished sixth at Windsor, and then I’d look a plonker. If we need to supplement for something we can now, because she’s paid for it.

“We’ll all have a chat, but I would be keen to run her again looking for some black type.”

Deodar made a winning debut for Ralph Beckett
Deodar made a winning debut for Ralph Beckett (Steven Paston/PA)

Ralph Beckett introduced a nicely-bred newcomer in Deodar to win the British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Stakes.

The dogs were barking for Hannon’s Witch Hunter, who was sent off the 7-4 favourite and in a prime position throughout.

Deodar had been slightly outpaced early, but got the hang of things from halfway under Rob Hornby and fairly powered home with the rail to assist him, beating the favourite by a neck – although there was not much between the first five home.

“He’s just come together in the last three weeks – it took him a long time to work out what was required, but he’s suddenly realised,” said Beckett, of the Juddmonte-owned son of Bated Breath.

“In his last bit of work he put it together between his ears.

“I don’t know what we’ll do with him now. Richard fancied his, so I’d say it was a good effort, and we’ll have to work out what to do.

“He’s out of a Selkirk mare, so should have no trouble getting further. I’d say we’ll crack on with him now.”

Roger Charlton’s Makram (11-4 favourite) survived a stewards’ enquiry to win the Dubai Duty Free Handicap.

James Doyle’s mount drifted out as Calling The Wind challenged, but the view taken was that there was not enough interference to change the result. The winning distance was a head.

“He’s a lovely horse – but I think he’s heading to the sales now because he can earn far more abroad than he can here, unfortunately,” said Charlton.

Silent Escape takes Listed prize as Godolphin hold sway

Silent Escape led home a Godolphin one-two-three in the Dubai Duty Free Cup at Newbury.

Previously successful at Newcastle and Sandown this season, Saeed bin Suroor’s filly was a 16-5 joint-favourite to make it three wins from four starts in the hands of champion jockey Oisin Murphy, who was positive from the outset.

The daughter of New Approach led down the centre of the track for much of the way, with the Charlie Appleby-trained pair of D’bai and Al Suhail giving vain chase inside the final furlong.

Silent Escape was not for catching, however, with Murphy pushing her out to prevail by a length and a half from D’bai, with the other joint-favourite Al Suhail close up in third place.

Bin Suroor said: “She won well. She’s improved since her last run and looked good today, even though the ground was a bit soft for her.

“We’re happy with the way she finished her race, but now I want to take her back to Dubai for the season there.

“We’ll keep her on turf. Well, we’ll keep options open, but I would think we’ll keep her on the turf. She’s a nice filly, but I want to look after her for the future.

“She has only lost once, this filly – but since then, she has been improving all the time.

Saeed bin Suroor was delighted with Silent Escape
Saeed bin Suroor was delighted with Silent Escape (John Walton/PA)

“The big key for her is the ground – when she works on good to soft ground she acts better on it.

“I think she’ll get a mile. But looking at the pedigree, by New Approach, he ran in the Derby. Oisin said a mile is fine for her now.

“There are some nice races for her in Dubai.”

Zechariah dominates Newbury rivals

Zechariah led from pillar to post in the 41st Running Of The Haynes, Hanson & Clark Conditions Stakes at Newbury.

The one-mile contest has an illustrious history, with some greats of the Turf on its roll of honour – including Shergar, Rainbow Quest, King’s Theatre and Nayef.

This year’s renewal looked another warm one on paper, with five of the six runners having already visited the winner’s enclosure and three protecting unbeaten records.

Down the field on his first couple of starts at Yarmouth and Newmarket, the Martyn Meade-trained Zechariah opened his account at the third attempt with a smooth success at Sandown in July – and was a 9-1 shot on his first start since under Tom Marquand.

Sent straight to the lead by Marquand, the son of Nathaniel kicked a couple of lengths clear inside the final two furlongs and never looked in any real danger of being caught from there on in.

Westover was two and a quarter lengths away in second, with 5-4 favourite King Of Conquest a further five and a half lengths back in third.

Freddie Meade, assistant trainer to his father, said: “I was really pleased with that – we’ve always thought a bit of him.

“We probably got him a bit wrong early season, because we thought he could be a Jersey Stakes horse and we maybe squeezed him a little bit early, and then he wasn’t himself at Newmarket.

“Since then he’s done nothing wrong. He was really impressive at Sandown and he was impressive again today.”

Freddie Meade (right) at Doncaster
Freddie Meade (right) at Doncaster (Dan Abraham/PA)

Zechariah holds multiple big-race entries, including the Vertem Futurity Trophy at Doncaster on October 23, but is not certain to run again this season.

“We were a bit worried about the ground today because it was soft at Newmarket, but I don’t think that was the reason there, he just wasn’t himself. He coped with it today, and Tom was really impressed,” Meade added.

“He’s in the Doncaster race, but we’ll just see how he comes out of this. He’s a horse that needs to develop over the winter, and I think he’ll then benefit from that next year.

“I think that might be it for the season, but we’ll talk to everybody and work back from next year. We’ll see what that race looks like.

“He’s by Nathaniel, so we’ll be looking at some nice middle-distance races next year.”

Al Aasy on trial at Newbury

Al Aasy warms up for a potential tilt at the Qipco Champion Stakes when he has his first start since being gelded at Newbury on Saturday.

The son of Sea The Stars looked destined for the top after registering back-to-back Group Three victories at the Berkshire venue in the spring, and was the 7-4 favourite to make a successful Group One debut in the Coronation Cup at Epsom.

But after travelling smoothly into contention, Al Aasy was outbattled by the admirable Pyledriver, and he was then again beaten a neck by Sir Ron Priestley when odds-on for Newmarket’s Princess of Wales’s Stakes.

With connections deciding to take drastic action after that defeat, William Haggas’ four-year-old makes his first appearance in more than two months in the Dubai Duty Free Legacy Cup, and his trainer is hoping he can earn himself a possible appearance on Champions Day.

“Since we gelded Al Aasy, this was the race I always had in my mind for him, but I do think he wants soft ground,” said Haggas.

“I’m pleased to get him back on the track, but he’ll be a bit rusty.

“I harbour this desire to have a crack at the Champion Stakes over a mile and a quarter on heavy ground if that is what happens, so he needs a run.

“He’ll be better for the race, but I think he’ll run a good race.”

Al Aasy’s four rivals include his stablemate Ilaraab, who bids to bounce back from a disappointing performance when joint-favourite for last month’s Ebor at York.

Ilaraab (left) joins stablemate Al Aasy at Newbury
Ilaraab (left) joins stablemate Al Aasy at Newbury (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Haggas added: “Ilaraab never looked happy in the Ebor. He was drawn wide, and it was almost game over really.

“Tom (Marquand) said he took a false step at the top of the straight, and that was it. We’ll see how we get on – Tom’s on board, and we’ve put cheekpieces on him.

“We need to find out where he’s at, because he was such a nice horse last year and started well this season in the Jorvik (Handicap), but then he’s tailed off – so we need to get on with him and make his mind up a bit.”

Andrew Balding’s course winner Foxes Tales, David Simcock’s outsider Ad Infinitum and Sir Michael Stoute’s Winter Hill Stakes scorer Solid Stone complete the field.

Bruce Raymond, racing manager for Solid Stone’s owner Saeed Suhail, said: “He’s been working extremely well. There’s only five runners, and Ryan Moore has got to go to America, so we’ve got William Buick riding – which is always a plus.

“Obviously this is the right race for him. He’s a good, tough horse.”

Hurricane Ivor makes a swift appearance after winning at Doncaster
Hurricane Ivor makes a swift appearance after winning at Doncaster (Mike Egerton/PA)

The other Group Three on the card is the Dubai International Airport World Trophy, which sees the Haggas-trained Hurricane Ivor step up in class after last weekend’s triumph in the Portland Handicap at Doncaster.

“He’s in good form, and obviously the question is whether this comes too soon. I’m just hoping he can win,” said Haggas.

“He’s four years old now and he looks great. He’s taking his racing well, and the only other time I’ve run him back as quick as this he ran a great race at Ascot when just touched off.

“Last week he got a bit too far back – but since he came to us the two key things that have made a difference, I think, have been gelding him and riding him with a bit more restraint.

“I think he likes passing horses, whereas in France he used to lead a lot, and often when they do that for a long time they sort of wait.”

Hurricane Ivor is taken on by Tis Marvellous, bidding to complete a hat-trick for Clive Cox, and the Charlie Hills-trained Khaadem, who claimed his first victory in more than two years in the Scarbrough Stakes at Doncaster.

Heredia makes case for better things to come with Newbury success

Heredia potentially threw her name into the hat for one of the big juvenile contests at the end of the season when maintaining her unbeaten record in the Dubai Duty Free Full Of Surprises British EBF Fillies’ Conditions Stakes at Newbury.

The Richard Hannon-trained Dark Angel filly had got off the mark with the minimum of fuss at Windsor 20 days ago – but faced three other previous winners here, including Charlie Appleby’s 4-9 favourite Silk Romance who looked smart when winning at Newmarket.

Settled last of the four by Sean Levey, she showed a smart turn of foot deep inside the final furlong to beat the market leader by a cosy neck.

“She’s a lovely filly, a homebred of Andrew Stones (St Albans Bloodstock) and I have to say (pre-trainer) Malcolm Bastard has done an amazing job,” said Hannon.

“She came to me in June and she’s been really sweet ever since. We thought a bit of her when she went to Windsor and she won there.

“I’d say that was a smart race, she looked like she enjoyed the seven furlongs, but where we go know I don’t know.

“There are loads of options, but I didn’t want to put her in anything in case she finished sixth at Windsor and then I’d look a plonker. If we need to supplement for something we can now as she’s paid for it.

“We’ll all have a chat, but I would be keen to run her again looking for some black type.”

Deodar made a winning debut for Ralph Beckett
Deodar made a winning debut for Ralph Beckett (Steven Paston/PA)

Ralph Beckett introduced a nicely-bred newcomer to win the British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Stakes.

The dogs were barking for Hannon’s Witch Hunter, who was sent off the 7-4 favourite and in a prime position throughout.

Deodar had been slightly outpaced early, but got the hang of things from halfway under Rob Hornby and fairly powered home with the rail to assist him, beating the favourite by a neck, although there was not much between the first five home.

“He’s just come together in the last three weeks, it took him a long time to work out what was required but he’s suddenly realised,” said Beckett of the Juddmonte-owned son of Bated Breath.

“In his last bit of work he put it together between his ears.

“I don’t know what we’ll do with him now, Richard fancied his so I’d say it was a good effort and we’ll have to work out what to do.

“He’s out of a Selkirk mare so should have no trouble getting further. I’d say we’ll crack on with him now.”

Ed Walker’s American Star (11-2) was a comfortable winner of the Dubai Duty Free Nursery Handicap for Oisin Murphy.

A little out of his depth in the Gimcrack last time out, he never looked in any danger here off a mark of 85.

“David Ward (owner) asked Ed Sackville (bloodstock agent) to buy him a Gimcrack horse – but he found six furlongs too sharp, and we should have run him in the Acomb,” said Walker.

“He did that very nicely, was well-ridden – and it never looked in any doubt to me.

“I’m not sure what we’ll do now. We may go back up in class but we’ll just wait and see – that looked a good race.”

Dhabab primed for latest big-race opportunity

Dhabab gets a third opportunity to bid for Group-race honours in the Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury on Saturday.

An impressive winner on his racecourse debut at Leicester in early June, John and Thady Gosden’s juvenile has since been sent off favourite for both the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Superlative Stakes at Newmarket.

And while the son of No Nay Never came up short on both occasions, the form of his third-placed finish on the July Course could hardly have worked out better, particularly with the winner Native Trail following up in the Group One National Stakes at the Curragh last weekend.

Thady Gosden said: “The form of the Superlative has worked out very well, especially with Native Trail winning in Ireland the other day.

“He’s had a nice break since then and done well.

“He’s dropping back in trip, but he shows plenty of speed and showed a good turn of foot in the Superlative. I hope the drop back in trip shouldn’t be a problem.”

Richard Hannon has high hopes for Super Sprint winner Gubbass, who was last seen finishing fifth in the Prix Morny at Deauville.

Gubbass winning the Weatherbys Super Sprint at Newbury
Gubbass winning the Weatherbys Super Sprint at Newbury (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

He said: “He’s going on Saturday and we’re looking forward to it.

“Hopefully he goes there with a great chance. We’re very happy with him.”

The Kevin Ryan-trained Gis A Sub and Ed Bethell’s Fearby renew rivalry after finishing second and fourth respectively in the Gimcrack Stakes at York last month.

Bethell is hopeful his charge can turn that form around.

Fearby impressed in Sandown's Dragon Stakes
Fearby impressed in Sandown’s Dragon Stakes (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“Fearby has run some great races this season, and it’s all systems go for this weekend,” said the Middleham-based trainer.

“He’s in good form at home and I’m really looking forward to running him.

“His Sandown win was his standout run of the season in terms of speed figures. I think he would have been a lot closer in the Gimcrack at York, but seemed to have a few gaps close in front of him.

“A flat six furlongs at Newbury should play into his hands and show him at his best.”

William Haggas is represented by Maglev, who was runner-up to subsequent Doncaster sale race winner Harrow in a York nursery on his latest appearance.

Haggas said: “He’s doing well and obviously the form of his York run was given a nice boost by the winner at Doncaster.

“He’s certainly entitled to have a shot at a race like this, I would think.”

Promising youngsters poised for Haynes, Hanson & Clark test

Newbury’s Haynes, Hanson & Clark Conditions Stakes has an illustrious history, with some greats of the Turf on its roll of honour – and this year’s renewal looks sure to throw up a smart winner.

Henbit and Shergar won the first two runnings and went on to win the Derby, while in subsequent years Rainbow Quest, Unfuwain, King’s Theatre and Nayef have added their name to the roll of honour.

Last year’s winner Yibir is currently in America preparing for a $1million race, having won the Great Voltigeur, and the 41st running has attracted a strong field of 10.

Charlie Appleby’s King Of Conquest cost 900,000 guineas and is likely to be sent off favourite following a debut win at Sandown. But Ralph Beckett’s Westover has also won his only start.

A son of Frankel from a famous Juddmonte family, Beckett rates his charge but has respect for the Appleby runner.

“He’s going to have to pull his finger out to beat the Godolphin horse, I think,” said Beckett.

“We thought we’d run here after his debut so I’m glad we’re showing up.

“He’s got a lovely Juddmonte pedigree and the family have served us well, so let’s hope this fellow does even better.”

Michael Bell’s Bolthole was another impressive winner on debut and the son of Free Eagle also looks to have a bright future.

“He made a good impression at Windsor and the form is working out well,” said Bell.

“The penalty structure of the race appeals so it will be interesting to see how he gets on taking on class horses.

“He’s a good looking horse with a good mind and hopefully he’s got a good future.”

Nayef’s trainer Marcus Tregoning has won the race five times, more than anybody else, and runs Rawyaan, winner of two of his three outings to date.

“Rawyaan is in very good form and obviously he’s won his last two races. This is a step up in trip and on different ground, but we’ve not picked up a penalty from his last two wins so that’s a carrot and he’d have a good chance,” he said.

“These conditions races don’t come up that often, but they are always on my radar for this type of horse and it looks like a competitive renewal.”

Appleby has two of the top-rated horses in the Dubai Duty Free Cup, in Al Suhail and D’bai, but Owen Burrows is hoping last year’s smart juvenile Albasheer can take a step forward from his return at Salisbury.

Albasheer (right) was second to Chindit in the Champagne Stakes last season
Albasheer (right) was second to Chindit in the Champagne Stakes last season (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“He was a bit rusty and while he’s not short of speed it was over six. He came to win and just got caught on the nod,” said Burrows.

“I was happy enough, it was a solid enough run and he certainly looks like he’s come forward for it in his work at home.

“This looks a very competitive race but on ratings this is where we are, it will be nice to get him back and see where we are with him.

“He’s still very lightly raced, but from what I see at home he looks to be still improving so we’re hopeful of a good run.”

Tomfre excels when the mud is flying
Tomfre excels when the mud is flying (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Beckett runs Tomfre – but fears the ground may not be soft enough.

“He’s been off for a while, but I’ve got to run him somewhere and the long-term forecast isn’t great,” he said.

“His owners are local, he ran well at Ascot, he’s in good form and this is supposed to be his time of year so we’ve got to get on with it.”

William Haggas has the same worry for the filly With Thanks.

“There’s not going to be enough cut in the ground for her, but she needs to race as when the rain comes she needs to be absolutely bang fit,” said Haggas.

“It won’t be soft enough, I wouldn’t have thought, but she’ll be OK. she looks well and she’s in all the seven-furlong races she needs to be in and if we have to go abroad we’ll go abroad.”

Sam Maximus camp hope home turf suits at Newbury

Owner John Dance is banking on a return to racing closer to home to spark Sam Maximus back to his best form in the Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes.

The Tom Dascombe-trained juvenile won on his debut at Haydock and went on to be beaten only half a length by Lusail in the July Stakes at Newmarket, just behind Asymmetric and in front of Ebro River.

He has failed to reproduce that form in two runs since in France and Ireland, without being disgraced, but Dance feel less travelling could be in his favour on Saturday.

“Our intention is to run him,” he said.

“We flirted with dropping him back to five furlongs, because he hasn’t really seen out his last two races.

“In France, he just didn’t see it out because of the soft ground, while in Ireland he had no real excuse. The only thing we could think was that he didn’t take to travelling abroad, so we want to give him another shot at six furlongs in this country.

“Newbury should suit him – he ran well at Haydock, and they’re not dissimilar. This will possibly be his last run of the season, because we want to try and look after him and see if he can improve as a three-year-old. Our priority is to see a return to form.”

Fearby firing on all cylinders for Mill Reef test

Trainer Ed Bethell reports Fearby in fine shape for the Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury.

A Listed winner at Sandown earlier in the season, Fearby has subsequently finished second in the Molecomb and fourth in the Gimcrack.

“After the Gimcrack, this looked the next logical target really,” said Bethell.

“We could have gone to France but we thought we’d stick around in England.

“It’s going to be a competitive race, as you’d imagine for a Group Two. But he’s going there in good form after a little freshen-up after York, and I’m really looking forward to it.

“I would imagine he’d be one of the more fancied runners, and he’s in very good order.”

Dhabab, last seen finishing third to National Stakes winner Native Trail, also features among 17 possibles on Saturday.

John and Thady Gosden’s youngster was a debut winner at Leicester before claiming sixth in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Clive Cox has three contenders at this stage in Crazyland, Dark Swansong and Wings Of War, while Michael O’Callaghan could once again bring Twilight Jet over from Ireland after solid runs in the Gimcrack and Champagne Stakes.

Last year's Champion Stakes winner Addeybb could run this weekend
Last year’s Champion Stakes winner Addeybb could run this weekend (Mike Egerton/PA)

Gis A Sub, Gubbass and Khunan bring top form to the table – while Hugo Palmer has supplemented Hierarchy, after he was third in the Sirenia Stakes.

The Dubai Duty Free Legacy Cup, previously known as the Arc Trial, sees William Haggas’ Addeybb top 12 entries.

On this weekend last year he won the Doonside Cup at Ayr, and he has also been entered in that same race once more, with Haggas no doubt aiming him at the most suitable going.

Haggas has two more contenders in Al Aasy, gelded since last seen, and Ilaraab, a huge disappointment when favourite for the Ebor.

Khaadem was impressive at Doncaster last week
Khaadem was impressive at Doncaster last week (Mike Egerton/PA)

Derby also-ran John Leeper has the same two options as Addeybb – and Andrew Balding has entered Bangkok, Foxes Tales and Fox Tal.

Solid Stone and Star Safari are also possibles – while in the Dubai International Airport World Trophy Stakes, Haggas’ Portland winner Hurricane Ivor could be out again quickly.

Charlie Hills’ Khaadem, another winner at the St Leger meeting, Balding’s King’s Lynn and Tis Marvellous, the Beverley Bullet winner, are among 11 entries.

Sacred slices through Hungerford field

Sacred came with a pulsating charge from the rear of the field to take the BetVictor Hungerford Stakes at Newbury.

Running for the first time since finishing seventh in the 1000 Guineas, the filly stormed home to complete an amazing hour for the William Haggas stable.

The Newmarket trainer took Group races in Deauville with Cloudy Dawn and Dubai Honour before Sacred (6-1) completed a remarkable hat-trick.

Nando Parrado, fired up by first-time blinkers, was soon running freely in front with D’Bai, Dreamloper and Al Suhail close up.

Tom Marquand settled Sacred at the back and was able to weave his way through the pack and get to the lead in the final furlong.

Galloping on strongly, the Cheveley Park-owned three-year-old crossed the line a length clear of Laneqash, with Njord a length and a half away in third.

Haggas’ wife, Maureen, said: “When Ryan (Moore) won the Nell Gwyn on her he said it was liking riding a motor bike.

“We’ve timed her with the latest equipment at home and some of her figures are unbelievable.

“She’s in the City of York, but that is very quick and could undo all the good that’s happened for her break.

“Then there’s the Foret, but she would only go if it stayed dry.”

She added: “She grew two inches through the winter and I hope that after her light season the owners might keep her in training at four.”

Marquand was equally impressed, saying: “It feels there’s been a lot in between her last run in the Guineas and they said she was top class.

“To jump into the race like that was very impressive. She is a very good horse.”

Hukum makes it back-to-back Geoffrey Freer victories

Hukum registered back-to-back victories in comfortable fashion in the BetVictor Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury.

The Owen Burrows-trained four-year-old looked a cut above the opposition as he pulled clear in the final furlong to defy a 3lb penalty for a Group Three success at York on his latest start.

Golden Pass set the pace, but Jim Crowley soon had the 8-11 favourite in second place away from any possible trouble in behind.

It looked an open contest three furlongs from home, although Hukum soon changed that when he hit the front with a quarter of a mile left.

He stretched away to win by three and a quarter lengths from the David Simcock-trained Rodrigo Diaz, who ran a big race with the Melbourne Cup in mind.

Pablo Escobarr was another length and a quarter away in third.

Jim Crowley enjoyed victory aboard Hukum
Jim Crowley enjoyed victory aboard Hukum (PA)

Shadwell racing manager Angus Gold said: “Jim said when he won at Goodwood he made a noise, so we tied his tongue down and since then he’s been really good.

“He’s a scopey horse that is putting it all together, and he has the speed to go shorter.

“He’s in the Lucien Barriere at Deauville in a couple of weeks, but looking ahead we might look towards the Breeders’ Cup Turf and the Hong Kong Vase.”