Trainer quotes ahead of Haydock and Beverley Saturday June 8

Views from connections ahead of the feature action at Beverley and Haydock on Saturday.

West backing Dream to deliver in Achilles

With two previous Temple Stakes placings over course and distance, Live In The Dream will start a hot favourite in the Betfred Passionate About Sport Achilles Stakes at Haydock on Saturday.

The five-year-old was beaten by half a length by Kerdos on his seasonal debut late last month at the Merseyside venue, improving from his third in the same race 12 months earlier.

However, he will drop down in grade as he seeks a first return to the winner’s enclosure since impressively claiming the Nunthorpe Stakes last August.

Live In The Dream will have seven rivals for the Listed contest over five furlongs and trainer Adam West is confident he can build from his reappearance run.

“I would hope so (a strong showing). It’s a strong field and I’m counting on him coming on nicely from the Temple Stakes,” West said.

“He enjoys his racing, he should be a strip fitter for it and it will be nice to open the throttle up a bit more.”

One of the main challengers for top honours is the George Boughey-trained Believing.

The daughter of Mehmas came third in the Sprint Cup at Haydock in September before finishing down the field on Champions Day at Ascot and on her first start of 2024 in the Group One Chairman’s Sprint Prize in Hong Kong.

“Well it is an interesting one really, I think it is a very good entry from George,” said Harry Herbert of owners Highclere Thoroughbred Racing.

“She ran two disappointing races on her last two starts, both of which have been on very soft ground and she just can’t handle that. So rather than just going to Royal Ascot blind, if you like, we need to see where we are with her.

“This is a proper sighter as to how the filly is, whether she is quick enough for five or whether we should be going back to six and by having horses like the favourite in the race, we should have a very good idea.

“I’m looking forward to watching her run. She’s a very smart filly and she’s much stronger, physically really progressed from three to four, so lets hope she can show her true colours on ground she hasn’t had for her last two runs.”

The Karl Burke-trained Korker, who finished sixth in last year’s renewal, is among the declared runners alongside stablemate Marshman.

Democracy Dilemma, second in the Epsom ‘Dash’ last week, goes for Robert Cowell, with Michael Dods’ Commanche Falls shouldering top weight after winning York’s Garrowby Stakes last September.

Pink Crystal makes her seasonal reappearance for William Haggas, while Adrian Nicholls’ Tees Spirit completes the line up with the trainer’s daughter, Mia, aboard.

Pogo primed to go close in Haydock repeat bid

Charlie Hills has high hopes Pogo can reclaim the Betfred John of Gaunt Stakes which he won two years ago.

The seven-furlong specialist is eight now, but showed when just touched off in a Listed race last time out that he is more than capable on his day.

A Group Two winner at his best, he is reunited with Kieran Shoemark, who has won on him five times already, including in this Haydock Group Three in 2022.

“He seems to enjoy Haydock and the ground is good there which is fine, he just wouldn’t want any rain really,” said Hills.

“He won it two years ago and it’s a track that suits him well. The draw looks fine in four and I think seven furlongs is his best trip, it’s spot on for him.”

Charlie Appleby runs Noble Dynasty on the back of a comfortable win at the Guineas meeting.

That was a handicap, however, and he was found wanting on his only other outing at this level.

Appleby told the Godolphin website: “Noble Dynasty is a rock-solid performer, and we were delighted with his win at Newmarket. He came out of that race in great order, although we wouldn’t want to see the ground get much quicker.”

Richard Fahey’s Ramazan was caught close home in the Victoria Cup and to add insult to injury was raised 2lb by the handicapper.

“He’s been running well and I just thought he got his pocket picked at Ascot which was a big run,” said Fahey.

“He’s got to step up again, but he likes Haydock and has won a couple of times there already.

“He goes in any ground but a drop of rain would help, he does seem to appreciate slower ground where it just slows the races down.

“He needs to improve, but you never know until you give them a chance. Once you get to a rating of 107 you are knocking on the door and I don’t think there is a lot between them, so let’s see what happens.”

William Haggas’ Tiber Flow took a dramatic tumble at York in his last outing, but is reported to be none the worse for that incident on the Knavesmire as he steps up in trip.

“He was brought down last time, they put fell, but he was actually brought down,” explained the Sommerville Lodge handler.

“We think he’s fine and he’s a remarkably tough horse who has been through a lot in his life.

“We’re running him really to confirm what we’ve been seeing at home and he’s up in trip with the ground a bit fast and drawn a bit wide, so there is plenty against him. But we think he’s in good form so we’re going to run him.

“We took him out of Ascot and thought we’d aim at the Chipchase (at Newcastle) and we just felt he would need a run to get back on track after York.”

Ed Bethell’s York handicap winner Point Lynas, experienced campaigner Bless Him for David Simcock and Richard Hannon’s Lockinge third Witch Hunter are other names to note in a competitive heat.

John Of Gaunt Stakes tips! | Haydock preview

Sea Theme bidding for Haggas hat-trick

Sea Theme has been tasked with providing William Haggas with a third straight victory in the Betfred Nifty 50 Lester Piggott Fillies’ Stakes when she makes her seasonal return.

A progressive performer at three, the daughter of Sea The Stars scooped Listed honours in the Galtres Stakes before finishing her campaign with a below-par showing at Newmarket.

She now reappears in a race her Sommerville Lodge handler has won three times since 2019 and one named after his late father-in-law.

“It has been a lucky race for us and she is very well and has been working well, but it’s quite a competitive race,” said Haggas.

“I think she has a bit to find and I don’t know whether she has improved enough to win, but we will see.

“It’s a Group Three fillies’ race and we have a lot of them, so we always like to run something in it.”

Haggas is willing to ignore Sea Theme’s one disappointing showing in her career in the Princess Royal Stakes on home Newmarket soil, feeling her battling win at York before that took more than anticipated out of the talented filly.

“We thought she was over the top at Newmarket,” continued Haggas.

“She had a hard race in the Galtres and it was just one race too many. I would put a line through it.”

That is a view Philip Robinson, racing manager for Sea Theme’s owner Sheikh Juma Dalmook Al Maktoum, concurs with.

He said: “She was a really progressive filly last year and she battled really hard when she won at York.

“That took a bit more out of her than I think we realised and she went to Newmarket and she didn’t seem to have got over York at all.

“William put her away after that and has given her plenty of time and she seems to be bouncing now, so hopefully she will run well.”

Night Sparkle won three on the spin for Michael O’Callaghan in Ireland and came close to opening her account for Andrew Balding when narrowly denied in York’s Bronte Cup on seasonal bow.

She is sure to be among the main protagonists here, as could be John and Thady Gosden’s lightly-raced Queen Of The Pride who caught the eye when stepping up to Listed company in her Goodwood return.

The daughter of Roaring Lion bumped into the useful, and more experienced, Gather Ye Rosebuds on that occasion and is backed by connections to have plenty more progression up her sleeve.

“I know she is in good form and the Gosden team are very happy with her,” said David Redvers, racing manager for owners Qatar Racing.

“She’s out of our St Leger winner (Simple Verse) and by Roaring Lion so we’re hopeful she will continue to improve as she gets a bit of distance.

“It was a lovely seasonal debut at Goodwood and we hope we can see some further improvement.”

Amy Murphy’s Miss Cantik was not disgraced in the Brigadier Gerard when seeking to follow up an impressive victory in a valuable Leicester handicap and is now upped in trip.

Meanwhile, Charlie Appleby’s Sapphire Seas is another trying a mile and a half for the first time, with the Frankel filly – who won four of her first five starts – looking to get back on track having seen her momentum checked recently.

Appleby told “Sapphire Seas has definitely come forward since York and we feel that stepping up to a mile and a half is going to suit. She heads to Haydock in excellent shape.”

Ralph Beckett’s Lady Boba signed off last season with Listed success in France, while on her penultimate start she finished second to Charlie Johnston’s Madame Ambassador in a typically competitive backend Newmarket handicap.

Madame Ambassador has run three times since then and heads to Haydock in peak condition having found the scoresheet in the Listed Rothesay Stakes at Ayr 17 days ago.

“This was sort of a natural progression after winning a Listed race to step up to Group Three company,” said Johnston.

“I’m fairly confident about the trip and she has won over a mile and a half a couple of times in the past, but her Listed win was over a mile and a quarter and her best form has probably been at a mile and a quarter.

“I thought this was worth a shot and if we can be in the shake up here it opens up possibilities like the Lancashire Oaks.

“Last year there was only five runners and this year there is 14, so it is obviously a bit more competitive, but there doesn’t look to be any standout horses in it and we’re going there off the back of a win and in-form which is more than what could be said for most of them.”

Force aiming to make Beverley impact

The red-hot Richard Fahey will attempt to land the bet365 Two Year Old Trophy Conditions Stakes for the second year running when he saddles Moving Force at Beverley on Saturday.

The Musley Bank handler has won this with Summer Sands (2019) and Bombay Bazaar (2023) in recent years with both marching on to run at Royal Ascot and he could have another above-average juvenile on his hands judged by his taking debut at the track last month.

The son of Mehmas was always in control over the same five furlongs he faces here and his handler is taking plenty of encouragement from that performance ahead of this step into deeper waters.

“We were very pleased with him on debut, he’s a quick horse and he’s entitled to improve for that,” said Fahey.

“He does have to give weight all round which feels a bit unfair, but that’s life.

“He’s a very nice colt, we like him and we’ll find out if he’s an Ascot horse after this.”

Tom Clover’s Rajeteriat was a length and a quarter behind Moving Force on that occasion, but barring that Newmarket raider, it will be a Yorkshire affair with Moving Force’s main opposition all coming from the region.

His biggest danger could be Karl Burke’s newcomer Shareholder, who carries a big reputation having been recently purchased for €460,000 and has been delighting connections in the lead up to his racecourse bow.

“He was bought from the Arqana breeze-up so it is quite a quick turnaround, but when we bought him I said to Karl ‘let’s give him a chance of being an Ascot horse’,” said Richard Brown, racing adviser to owners Wathnan Racing.

“Karl hasn’t had him very long but he is very happy and did a serious piece of work the other day.

“It’s quite a quick turnaround but the horse is screaming he is ready to run. Let’s hope he is and I’ll be nervous watching, but I think he is definitely a nice horse.

“It’s a tough race and if it doesn’t happen that is absolutely fine. It will be good to get him out and get him started.

“I’ve worked with Karl for a while and when you are buying some of these sharp types, he is an obvious name to drop in the hat to train these breeze-up horses.”

Pontefract winner Regal Gem carries a similar profile to Moving Force having struck an encouraging blow on debut and will represent Tony Coyle and Kaine Wood, while John and Sean Quinn’s Jm Jhingree was tough when opening his account at Redcar and could enjoy this stiff sprint test.

Craig Lidster’s first timer Horus completes the select group of six heading to post.

Aviation Time ready to take off in Hilary Needler

Aviation Time has the chance to play herself on to Richard Hughes’ Royal Ascot teamsheet when she takes flight in the Hilary Needler Trophy EBF Fillies’ Conditions Stakes at Beverley.

One of the highlights of the year on the Westwood, the race eluded Hughes during his time in the weighing room but he could have the ideal candidate to get on the roll of honour as a trainer.

Aviation Time made the perfect start to her on-track career at Kempton, keeping on well to strike over six furlongs.

Unsure if she has what it takes to land a blow in the Queen Mary Stakes at the Royal meeting, her trainer is keen to use this as a stepping stone to test the waters ahead of future assignments.

Hughes said: “She’s done nothing wrong so far and I think she has improved since her run at Kempton, which will give her a bit of a chance.

“She’s drawn 10 which isn’t ideal, but I have a very good jockey on board (James Doyle) and hopefully she will overcome that.

“She was a slow burner really and we weren’t thinking she would run that well first time out, but she went and won really well. She’s definitely improved since then and is a nice filly.

“I didn’t think she was a Queen Mary winner and this was the other option, but if she was to run well or win this, then maybe we can have a think about backing her up again at Ascot. It’s a nice stepping stone for her.”

Aviation Time is owned by Steve Parkin’s Bronte Collection syndicates, with Karl Burke’s Windsor scorer Storm Call another to sport their colours.

Spigot Lodge handler Burke is also responsible for the Nick Bradley Racing-owned pair of Larchill Lass and Invincible Annice, who like Storm Call, both head to the Westwood on the back of victory.

Invincible Annie was beaten by Adrian Keatley’s Chantilly hero Francisco’s Piece on debut before proving successful in a seller only seven days ago and is highly rated by her team ahead of this attempt in deeper company.

“We nearly went for the Listed race in France that Francisco’s Piece won and if he had not have gone to France, we probably would have,” explained Nick Bradley.

“I didn’t really want to run her in the seller but it was a good opportunity to win £10,000. We had to pay £4,000 to buy her back and still won £6,500 so it was nice enough and I think she will have a good chance at Beverley.”

Adrian Nicholls is another former jockey who never got his hands on this prize while riding, but would be a popular winner if his Maw Lam could follow up her taking Thirsk debut.

Maw Lam was three-quarters of a length ahead of George Scott’s Mademoiselle on that occasion and the Newmarket-based handler is looking forward to the rematch with his improving Amo Racing-owned filly.

“It’s really good prize-money this close to Ascot and therefore it is appealing for a filly like ours, who looks to be on the improve but so far has not shown enough quality to go to the Royal meeting,” said Scott.

“We were really hoping to take on the horse that beat us from a better draw and I’m disappointed to be drawn so wide in stall 12 which is going to make things difficult.

“But she seems to be improving, I think she will like the track – a stiff five should be right up her street.

“I think the winner of this will definitely earn a ticket to Royal Ascot, whether that is ourselves or someone else. If we are three or four lengths out of it then so be it, but at this stage we felt this was the more sensible option than going straight to Ascot.”

Tom Clover’s Over Spiced and Michael Dods’ Brazilian Belle are others in the line-up arriving with a victory last time to their name as a total of 15 fillies head to post.

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