View from connections ahead of Saturday's Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.
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James Fanshawe is keeping his fingers crossed race specialist Society Rock gets the breaks as he aims to regain his crown in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.
The dual course and distance winner was something of a surprise victor when triumphing in the mud in the 2011 Jubilee, despite finishing second in the race a year earlier, but has proved that to be no fluke with a number of top-notch efforts at the highest level since.
Far from disgraced when a close-up fifth behind Australian wonder mare Black Caviar in this six-furlong Group One 12 months ago, the six-year-old went on to clinch his second Group One prize in the Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock, and appeared better than ever when making a winning return in the Duke of York.
"He seems in good form since winning the Duke of York. I'm very happy with him at home," said Fanshawe.
"We'll take each race as it comes, but his form stands up well and we know he likes Ascot. There are plenty of runners and we'll hope for some luck in running. Like most horses I think he'd prefer decent ground, rather than extremes either way."
Australian speedball Choisir paved the way for a host of overseas runners to head for the Royal meeting after winning both the King's Stand and the Jubilee 10 years ago.
Hong Kong raider Cape Of Good Hope claimed the Jubilee in 2005, with Black Caviar striking another blow for the Australians a year ago.
This year's international team is headed by the John O'Shea-trained Sea Siren, who carries the silks of Coolmore triumvirate Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith and
O'Shea's assistant trainer, Bryce Heys, said: "It was a long time travelling with Sea Siren. She had to travel a bit in Australia - she flew from Brisbane to Sydney and Sydney to Melbourne before the flight to England. There is no doubt that took its toll but we have been very light on her since.
"Royal Ascot's six furlongs is definitely testing and she is going to have to adapt to that. Hopefully, she will be ridden with some cover to utilise her turn of foot.
"Her recent form has not been ideal as regards to coming to Royal Ascot. She had a long time off after Hong Kong last year and it has taken a bit to get her back. She is probably not far off where she was winning Group Ones last year.
"It is a daunting task at Royal Ascot but we have Ryan Moore in the saddle. She is a delight to deal with, very laid-back with a good constitution as regards her appetite and the work she can take."
Also part of the international cast is Bahrain runner Krypton Factor, American challenger Havelock and Gammarth from France.
Five horses make the journey across the Irish Sea, headed by Tom Hogan's Prix de la Foret hero Gordon Lord Byron.
The five-year-old ran a fine race to fill third spot behind Society Rock at York last month and Hogan is hoping his charge can bridge the gap.
He said: "The last two times he's been beaten (by Society Rock), he's been drawn on the opposite side of the track so it will be good to be a bit closer this time.
"We're pretty well drawn this time and there's only 18 runners, not 28, so it's not too bad.
"Everything has gone to plan since York. He's in very good form so we'd be hopeful of a big run.
"I'd prefer it if there wasn't any rain before Saturday as his best runs really were in Haydock and Hong Kong and they were both on quick ground.
"He would definitely handle the other stuff, he won his Group One on soft ground, but he seems to like the better ground.
"I think the favourite (Society Rock) is probably the one we all have to beat but there's some young guns in there, like Lethal Force, and it's just a really competitive race."
David Marnane's Dandy Boy is an interesting contender, having won the Wokingham Stakes at last year's Royal meeting over the same course and distance.
He finished well down the field on his latest appearance at the Curragh, but his trainer is not concerned.
Marnane said: "He's in good form and hopefully the ground stays fast. We wouldn't want to see any rain at all, to be honest.
"I wasn't disappointed with his last run. He had no luck in running and didn't run too bad.
"He loves Ascot, he's two from three there, and we're looking forward to it.
"He's in stall one, which will hopefully be all right. The stalls are in the middle and he's a slight hold-up horse, so he should be fine."
David Nagle turns Maarek out again just six days after he was beaten at long odds-on in a Cork Listed event.
In contrast to the connections of Gordon Lord Byron and Dandy Boy, Nagle is hoping to see the heavens open in Berkshire.
He said: "He came out of the race the other day in good form, he's perfect.
"It was obviously disappointing to get beat, but it wasn't the biggest surprise in the world.
"There was no pace in the race and only seven runners. He doesn't do a stroke in front and we were there to be shot at.
"He didn't have a hard race and there should be no lack of pace on Saturday - it should be a cavalry charge."
The Irish challenge is completed by Aidan O'Brien's Reply and the Eddie Lynam-trained Slade Power.
Lynam is looking to complete a major sprint double following the deserved victory of Sole Power in Tuesday's King's Stand.
The trainer said: "He's just had the one run in a long period of time, but we were delighted with how he performed at the Curragh and he's been in great form since.
"We think he could be a Group One sprinter. This is a big ask for him, but practice makes perfect and we're happy to roll the dice and see what happens."
Consistent sprinter Hawkeyethenoo takes his chance for Jim Goldie and the excellent run of stable companion Jack Dexter to finish fourth in the King's Stand is giving the Scottish trainer confidence.
He said: "We know he likes Ascot and hopefully he's going there with a reasonable chance.
"We'd prefer a bit of rain. There is rain forecast, so hopefully it arrives.
"He's in good form and ran a good race to finish fourth in the Duke of York last time, finishing ahead of Jack Dexter.
"We just have to hope conditions go our way."
Lethal Force got closer than anything else to Society Rock in the Duke of York, beaten just a head into second.
His trainer Clive Cox said: "Physically he has done well from three to four. I'm delighted, and that was borne out in his performance at York. I'm looking forward to him running."
James Doyle has already enjoyed a memorable week following a fantastic hat-trick on Wednesday and the rising star of the weighing room partners Mince for his boss Roger Charlton.
The four-year-old won her last four starts in 2012, but has not looked the same horse in two starts this season.
Doyle said: "She's left us all scratching our heads.
"She was so good last year, but her comeback runs have been very disappointing.
"There's nothing wrong with her, so we're hoping it was just a lack of fitness.
"She'll go to Ascot much fitter and very well in herself, so there's absolutely no reason why she can't run a big race."