Tees Spirit poised for Curragh assignment

Tees Spirit is likely to attempt to continue his rapid rise through the sprinting ranks in the Paddy Power Rockingham Handicap at the Curragh on Sunday.

The four-year-old was an emotional winner of the Dash at Epsom on Derby Day for trainer Adrian Nicholls, as it came on the fifth anniversary of his father David’s death.

As his father earned the moniker of the Sprint King for winning major sprint handicaps -including five wins in the Dash – the poignancy of the result was lost on no one and Nicholls now has his sights set on another major prize.

“We’re looking to go over there without it being set in stone, but it is certainly on the cards,” said Nicholls.

“I suppose this is the Irish version of the Dash, but it’s a little bit of a different track.

“With no offence to Hamilton, I could have run him there on Thursday in a 0-90 with just under £10,000 to the winner so while you have a sprinter in this kind of form you’ve got to go and hunt the big pots as they don’t come around often.

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“He’s gone up 6lb for winning by a head and don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t want to be a handicapper as they do get a bit of grief. I suppose it’s hard to assess a horse like him as he’s coming up through the ranks.

“That race, the Dash, every year the form works out. I know some people say now and again ‘that’s a bad Derby or that was a bad Guineas’ – you never hear that about the Dash, it’s always a strong race.

“He’s won three in a row now and I suppose he could have got more than six as the second was rated 98 and the Irish handicapper has him 1lb higher. You’d like to think he’s still got enough of a chance to win another big one.”

Tees Spirit returns after the Dash
Tees Spirit returns after the Dash (Steve Paston/PA)

Should all go well this weekend Nicholls is then looking at Goodwood’s Stewards’ Cup, another race the late Dandy Nicholls had a good record in.

“I did put him in the Stewards’ Cup and he’ll need to go up again to stand a chance of getting in that,” said Nicholls.

“He’s been doing all his winning over five (furlongs) this season, but he has won over six and with Goodwood being an easy six I wouldn’t be too bothered about that.”

He added: “Barry (McHugh) will go over to ride him, that’s the plan if he runs, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it I always think.”

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