Preview of Saturday's meeting at Newmarket

Last Updated May 19 2018, 14:59Racing
Old Persian leads Gronkowski
Old Persian leads Gronkowski

Old Persian bids to book his ticket to Royal Ascot when he tackles the Betway Fairway Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday.

Having found only stablemate Key Victory too strong in a 10-furlong Listed prize last time out, the son of Dubawi seeks compensation at the same level and over the same course and distance.

Trainer Charlie Appleby said: "I've been very pleased with the way he has progressed so far this season. He has got good course experience and lost nothing in defeat on his last start to Key Victory, whom we like. It was a sound enough surface on his last start at the Guineas meeting and we know it will be a bit quicker again, but I see no reason why he shouldn't handle it.

"If he goes and wins he will be Royal Ascot-bound. If he does win we can potentially look towards the Hampton Court or if we feel he needs to go up in trip there is the King Edward VII. He has got options, but he has got to win to justify them."

Sean Levey expects the Richard Hannon-trained Department Of War to make a bold bid to back up his debut win at Nottingham and maintain his unbeaten record.

The rider said: "He looked quite a smart horse last time. He went through the race really well and picked up like a good horse. He handled the undulations and the little cut in the ground, but obviously the ground is going to be a lot quicker on Saturday. It is only a small field so it will be tactical, but I think he has got enough tactical speed to overcome that and with a bit of luck he will show his hand.

"He has been very raw through the spring and initially he wasn't showing an awful lot until his run. Now he has won he has started showing us quite a bit more at home."

Sean Levey is backed to ride a winner for The Queen
Sean Levey: Expecting big run from Department Of War

The three-runner field is completed by the John Gosden-trained dual all-Weather winner Court House, who will be making his debut on turf.

Aurum will attempt to provide Newmarket handler Appleby with another Listed-race victory when taking on four rivals in the Betway King Charles II Stakes over seven furlongs. The Exceed And Excel colt made his racecourse debut a successful one when landing a maiden over course and distance at the Craven meeting.

Appleby said: "He has done well from his first start and we are going there knowing that he will be a lot happier on better ground having run on slower ground at the Craven meeting. We have got the favourite to beat (Purser), I respect Mr Gosden's horse as he takes good form into the race which was franked by Symbolization from our yard winning last time. Aurum is a horse we like and we were confident going up to Newmarket last time that he would take a bit of beating."

Owen Burrows feels the time is right to step Yarmouth maiden winner Mutaqeeb up in trip.

Burrows said: "He's still very lightly raced and ran a good race to finish second in a Listed race at Doncaster. I've never thought of him as a sprinter, so the logical thing to do is step him up to seven furlongs on his first run back and we'll see where we afterwards. We're looking forward to running him."

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