Threat bids to show Saturday sparkle in Champagne Stakes

Threat wins the Gimcrack at York
Threat wins the Gimcrack at York

Connections of Threat hope to have a clearer idea of what his end-of-season target should be after he runs in the Pommery Champagne Stakes at Doncaster on Saturday.

Richard Hannon has never made any secret of the regard in which he holds the Cheveley Park Stud-owned colt, and admitted to being "gutted" after the Coventry Stakes runner-up again had to make do with minor honours in the Richmond Stakes at Goodwood.

However, he got back on the winning trail with an authoritative display in the Gimcrack at York on his latest appearance and will step up to seven furlongs for the first time on Town Moor.

Chris Richardson, Cheveley Park's managing director, said: "We were eyeing up this race before he ran in the Gimcrack as a possible place where we could step him up to seven furlongs. We've followed it through and I'm glad we have.

"He's got to give away 3lb, but it looks a good place for him and hopefully it will tell us whether we should aim for the Middle Park or the Dewhurst or whatever else we decide to do at the end of the season.

"I'm told he's in very good form, so we'll see what happens."

Threat's Group Two penalty means he must concede 3lb to each of his four opponents.

Hannon said: "He's got a good chance. He has a 3lb penalty, but he's in good form."

The Marlborough trainer took impressive York winner out of the Champagne to wait for Newmarket, and added: "Mums Tipple is going to the Middle Park."

Charlie Appleby is looking forward to seeing Royal Crusade step up in grade after justifying odds-on favouritism on his racecourse debut at Newmarket.

He said: "He's a horse we've always liked and we were very pleased with his first start at Newmarket.

"He came out of that well, we've been happy with him since and we think he's ready to step up to this sort of level.

"His preparation has gone well and we're looking forward to testing the water with him."

Superlative Stakes runner-up Juan Elcano represents Kevin Ryan, with the Aidan O'Brien-trained pair of Fort Myers and Royal Dornoch completing the quintet.

The first Group Two on the card is the Hird Rail Group Park Stakes, for which Shine So Bright is likely to be a short-priced favourite after touching off six-times Group One winner Laurens at York last month.

Andrew Balding's grey had previously won the Free Handicap and finished sixth in the 2000 Guineas.

Balding said: "He handles fast ground well and a repeat of the York performance should see him go very close.

"My only concern is that he had a very hard race that day. He's had three weeks to get over it but he did have a hard race.

"As he's showing no ill effects of that I think he's the one they've all got to beat."

Shine So Bright's rivals are Sir Dancealot (David Elsworth), Turjomaan (Roger Varian), Never No More (Aidan O'Brien), Azano (John Gosden) and Breton Rock (David Simcock).


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