Royal Line bids to roll back the years with November glory at Doncaster

    Royal Line will attempt to revive memories going back 25 years when he carries the famous Sheikh Mohammed family colours in the Betfred November Handicap at Doncaster on Saturday.
  • Friday 10 November 2017
  • News

Royal Line will attempt to revive memories going back 25 years when he carries the famous Sheikh Mohammed family colours in the Betfred November Handicap at Doncaster on Saturday.

The victory of Turgenev in 1992 was the second of trainer John Gosden's record-equalling five wins in the showpiece on the final day of the turf season, while Sheikh Mohammed has also had his silks carried to victory by Saxon Maid (1994) and Sabadilla (1997), both trained by Luca Cumani.

After many years of great success with such stars of the track as Oh So Sharp, Pebbles and Singspiel, the white and maroon silks went on the back burner when Sheikh Mohammed set up Godolphin.

Now following an absence of 10 years in the UK, the colours are gracing our racecourses again after the Sheikh handed them to his daughter Sheikha Al Jalila.

Royal Line was the first winner under the new banner when he made a belated debut at Windsor in September. The three-year-old son of Dubawi followed up at Haydock later that month but was last of three when going for the hat-trick at Newbury over an extended one mile and five furlongs two weeks ago.

Gosden put that defeat down to the longer trip and is expecting a better performance back at a mile and a half as the Newmarket trainer bids to overtake Sam Hall with a sixth triumph in the end-of-season finale.

"He found the trip a little bit too far last time at Newbury, but he's in good form and the ground should suit," Gosden told Press Association Sport.

Towerlands Park is another with few miles on the clock. The four-year-old, trained by Michael Bell, has been restricted to just five starts. His latest came just two weeks ago at Newbury where he was third behind Century Dream, beaten only two lengths.

"He's been lightly raced but had a good comeback run the other day," said Bell.

"He's been in good form since and this has been his principal plan for the last couple of months and hopefully he'll run very well.

"He's had a catalogue of little things rather than major things, hence his appearances have been sporadic. He's had no issues for the last three or four months."

Dance The Dream has had nine races and her trainer Marcus Tregoning feels she is still on the upgrade.

"She's very lightly raced so I'd like to think there's a bit more to come," said the Whitsbury handler.

"She had the summer off so while it is late in the year for a filly, she hasn't been busy.

"Tyler (Saunders) claims 7lb for a reason, like they all do, but he's had a good season. He knows her well, he's won on her and does all her work at home."

Dance The Dream had Top Tug a length and a half back in second place when scoring at Leicester on her latest start.

However, Alan King's gelding renews rivalry on better terms and connections are hoping the joint top-weight can be rewarded for his consistency.

"We're very happy with him. He's so consistent and is a better horse on the Flat which is why we have stuck to that route. We hope he'll go well," said Dan Downie, racing manager for owners the Elite Racing Club.

"He's got form on the soft ground and he's got form on quick ground. Hopefully, he should be fine."

Kevin Ryan does not expect the step up to a mile and a half to be a problem for Syphax, who stuck on well when second to Dark Red over an extended mile and a quarter at York last month.

"He's in good form and we're very happy with him. He ran well last time and this trip should be fine," said the Thirsk handler.

Minotaur was a well-beaten fourth of five when sent off the odds-on favourite at Pontefract over two and a quarter miles but Jonjo O'Neill's former French-trained gelding had shaped well when fourth over this distance at Leicester two weeks earlier.

"He was a bit disappointing the last day but Jonjo thinks he's in good old form, we're hoping he can show it back on the track. We're hoping for the best," said Frank Berry, racing manager to owner JP McManus.

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