Williams planning fact-finding mission for Enemy at Sandown

Ian Williams is set to run Enemy in next Thursday’s Coral Henry II Stakes at Sandown before committing to take on Stradivarius in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot.

The five-year-old gelding joined the Portway team from the French yard of Francis-Henri Graffard at the start of the year and Williams saddled him to land the Queen’s Cup at Musselburgh on his first British run last month.

Owned by Tracey Bell and Caroline Lyons, the gelded son of Muhaarar is currently as short as 16-1 with Coral for the Gold Cup, yet is no certainty to line up against the likes of Stradivarius, who seeks a fourth success in the Group One feature of the Royal Meeting.

Williams was impressed by the John and Thady Gosden-trained eight-year-old when he landed a third Yorkshire Cup last week and is in no rush to put Enemy up in trip, since he has yet to race beyond two miles.

Williams said: “Stradivarius did what he had to at York. It was a workmanlike, solid performance for an exceptional racehorse. It didn’t prove whether he was still at his best, but he can do no more than win the race he was in. You would never underestimate Stradivarius.”

After being beaten half a length by Princess Zoe in the Group Three Sagaro Stakes at Ascot on his last run, Williams is urging caution to punters who feel Enemy could make a return to the Berkshire track next month.

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“I don’t think the Gold Cup is really on our agenda for Enemy at the moment. I’m not convinced about the extended trip,” admitted Williams.

“Two miles is probably enough, but he will run in the Henry II Stakes, a race we won (in 2018) with Magic Circle, a week on Thursday and we will make out plan for the season on the basis of how we go there.

“I can’t rule the Gold Cup out, but can’t rule it in, either. We are keeping options open.”

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