Nicholas T bids to complete a unique double when he lines up for the John Smith’s Cup at York.
Jim Goldie’s versatile nine-year-old came from last to first to win the Northumberland Plate over two miles at Newcastle two weeks ago.
He has to carry a double penalty of 8lb on Saturday, because he had been successful over a mile and a half at York on his previous start.
That was Goldie’s plan to ensure Nicholas T had enough weight to make the cut for the maximum 22-runner field for this prestigious handicap over an extended 10 furlongs.
“He’s won over the course. He is up the handicap a bit – but according to the handicapper, we are 1lb well in. He’s well enough, he’s still in good form and has come out of the race well,” said the Glasgow trainer.
“Two miles down to a mile and two (furlongs) won’t be a bother. He was a mile-two horse before that.
“Being drawn 16, we’ll just drop him in like we did at Newcastle and hopefully he’ll close at the finish and he’ll be in front of them all.
“It was the plan to get two penalties to get him in this race. He has got in, so you never know. Sometimes a plan does come together.”
“We’d prefer slightly faster ground. If it’s good ground I’ll be delighted and be a player. If it’s soft it will compromise him.”
Connections of Astro King are hoping for better luck than the four-year-old had in the Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot.
The Sir Michael Stoute-trained colt led home the near side group but had to settle for second place behind Real World, who had scooted clear on the far side of the track.
“He was second in the Hunt Cup. He came up the stands side, and the horse that beat him was on the far side,” said Bruce Raymond, racing manager to owner Saeed Suhail.
“That was bad luck, because most winners were coming up the stands side. He’s going well, and we’re very hopeful.
“I’d prefer if he was drawn a bit lower (14), but he’s got a chance. He’s working well, and we’re happy with him.”
Joe Tuite has had this race in mind for Surrey Pride since he struck over the course and distance on his seasonal debut eight weeks ago.
“We’ve aimed him at this race since he won at York in May,” said the Lambourn trainer.
“We took a chance in not running him, because he could have missed the cut, but it became clear on Monday he had made it.
“His form has worked out – we’re looking forward to running him, and everything looks in place.”
Saeed bin Suroor has never won the race before – but his Bright Start would not be a shock winner, given his level of consistency.
While he has won just once in nine races to date, he never finished outside the first four and was beaten just a short head by the highly-rated Montather last time out.
“He’s doing well. He’s in good form – I’m happy with him, and he’s working well,” said the Godolphin trainer.
“The trip will suit him, and it looks the right race for him. He’s very consistent – the ground will be fine, but he has form on all ground anyway.
“It will be tough to win. But he’s working well, seems in condition, so I’m looking to see a good run from him.”