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.
“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.”
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.”