Cleonte set to take on Stradivarius in Goodwood Cup

Cleonte wins at Royal Ascot
Cleonte wins at Royal Ascot

Cleonte may take on champion stayer Stradivarius in the Goodwood Cup following his victory in the Queen Alexandra Stakes at Royal Ascot.

The Andrew Balding-trained six-year-old bounced back to take the two-mile-five-and-a-half-furlong marathon, after failing to handle testing conditions in the Chester Cup.

The win was a first at the five-day meeting for owners King Power Racing, who had endured several near misses.

"We'd hit the crossbar all week, so it was very pleasing to get their first one over the line," said King Power's bloodstock manager, Alistair Donald. "He's been an improving horse, and I think they (owners) had a big thrill from it, so hopefully it was the first of many more."

Third in the Cesarewitch on his final start in 2018, Cleonte also finished a fine third to Dee Ex Be in the Sagaro Stakes at Ascot on his reappearance.

Donald said: "He may well go to the Goodwood Cup. He still seems to be improving. The owners like runners at Goodwood, and he's a horse who could run into a place in that race. That trip at Ascot was stretching his limit. I think he's better at two miles."

Both Stradivarius and Dee Ex Bee are possibles for Goodwood after filling the first two places in the Gold Cup at the Royal meeting.

Bangkok went close for King Power when second in the King Edward VII Stakes last week, and could drop back to a mile and a quarter for the Group Two Sky Bet Stakes at York on July 27.

Donald said: "They were very pleased with that. We didn't want to run him against (the owners') Fox Chairman, although we thought Bangkok was probably going to be better at 10 (furlongs) - and we're thinking about the Sky Bet at York."

Fox Chairman, who looked unlucky when runner-up in the Group Three Hampton Court Stakes on just his third career start, may take a slight drop in grade for his next outing.

"He was very unlucky in that race, but we think he's going to be a proper horse for the future," said Donald. "There are a couple of Listed races we are looking at for him to get him back winning, and move on from there."


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