The ground-softening thunderstorms at Royal Ascot last week put paid to Big Orange's chance of trying to give Michael Bell success in the Ascot Gold Cup but, ever the pragmatist, the Fitzroy House trainer is looking to more conventional Summer weather in the coming month when his star stayer can have the opportunity to display his mettle.
Taurean Star is another who performed with credit on the Royal stage and is expected to show his best again when the ground dries out and Bell is looking forward to stretching the stamina of The Queen's Fabricate in the coming weeks.
There were a few from the stable that had to skip last week's meeting due to ground conditions but Bell will have a fresh team to go to war with in the coming weeks and is excited by a team of two-year-olds from whom plenty is expected in the months ahead.
Michael is upbeat as the second half of the year is upon us and kindly discussed his team with Tony Elves of ATR.
5 b g Duke of Marmalade - Miss Brown To You
Winner of five of his 16 starts. Progressive gelding who was beaten only a neck by Vazirabad in the Group 2 Dubai Gold Cup at Meydan (2m) in March on his reappearance. Found a mile and a half too short when third, beaten nine lengths, to Exophere in the Group 2 Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket in April on his latest start. Currently rated 114.
"We swerved the Ascot Gold Cup with him because of the ground and he's being earmarked for the Listed two mile race at Sandown on Coral-Eclipse day as a preparation for his defence of the Goodwood Cup. We are keen to go back to Goodwood where he beat Quest For More, Trip To Paris and Pallasator in the race last year."
4 b g Makfi - Flight Of Fancy
Winner of two of his 6 starts. Finished a highly creditable fifth, beaten four and three quarter lengths, to Kinema in the Duke of Edinburgh Handicap at Royal Ascot last week off his current mark of 97.
"He ran well in the Duke of Edinburgh at Royal Ascot and he may have to go for the Summer Handicap at Goodwood next. If he was to win that it may well get us into the Ebor at York in August."
4 b c Medaglia d'Oro - Kissed By A Star
Winner of two of his 11 starts. Has run well in his last two starts finishing third, beaten a length and three quarters, to subsequent Zetland Gold Cup winner Revolutionist at Newmarket (1m 2f) in May off a mark of 92 and then failing by only three quarters of a length when second to Mutamakkin at Sandown (1m) in June off a 1lb higher mark. Currently rated 96.
"He ran a very solid race at Sandown last time where he looked all over the winner. As a result he has gone up 3lb and he has entries this week but could possibly wait for the big mile handicap on Eclipse Day."
4 b g Azamour - Maramba
Winner of two of his 15 starts. Placed in four of his five starts this season and failed by only a head behind Van Huysen at Chelmsford (1m 2f) this month off his current AW rating of 79. Currently rated 83 on the turf.
"He ran a very good race at Chelmsford last time and just got chinned. He is entered at Kempton this week and could well take his chance before the handicapper reassesses him."
b g Fastnet Rock - Be My Queen
Winner of one of his 3 starts. Off the mark at Wolverhampton (1m 4f) in April when scoring by eight lengths from Mawaany. Creditable effort on handicap bow at Newmarket (1m 4f) in May when third, beaten two and three quarter lengths, to Opposition off a mark of 85. Currently rated 84.
"He is a tidy middle distance handicapper who swerved Royal Ascot as a result of the soft ground and we will look for a three-year-olds only handicap where he can hear his hooves rattle."
b f Paco Boy - Miss Wells
Winner of two of her 9 starts. Last success at Wolverhampton (1m 1/2f) in May when beating Refulgence a length and a quarter off a mark of 70. Ran well in defeat at Sandown (1m) in June when third, beaten only a length and three quarters to Desert Haze off a mark of 75. Currently rated 77.
"She has been a model of consistency in handicaps this year and ran another solid race in defeat at Sandown last time. She doesn't mind a bit of cut in the ground and we will enter her up and see how we go."
b g Cape Cross - Rainbow's Edge
Unplaced in four starts including off a mark of 68 to Caponova at Haydock (1m 2 1/2f) in May. Currently rated 65.
"He is in my opinion a well handicapped horse. He fluffed his lines on his handicap debut at Haydock but on the evidence of what he does at home he is going to be capable of winning races."
DUCK A L'ORANGE
ch g Duke of Marmalade - Incheni
No wins from 6 starts. Best effort when runner-up, beaten a length, to Blakeney Point off a mark of 68 at Leicester (1m 4f) in May. Currently rated 70.
"He is a nicely bred horse who was an eyecatching second at Leicester when he possibly should have won. He then got too far back at Newbury, but I'm still a big fan of the horse and hope he will start to fulfil his potential sooner rather than later."
b g Sir Percy - My True Romance
Winner of one of his 8 starts. Successful in a maiden at Lingfield (7 1/2f) last August when beating Albe Back a short head. Finished fifth of six at Kempton (1m 3f) to Real Dominion on his latest start in May but only beaten four lengths off a mark of 78. Currently rated 75.
"He could go to Newcastle this week. He's in good order and I am hoping that he can perform well. He is rated 75 and he's in a 0-75 classified so the race is tailormade for him.
b g Duke of Marmalade - Perseida
No wins from four starts. Finished sixth, beaten six lengths to Masterblueyes at York (1m 4f) in May off a mark of 79. Currently rated 78.
"He has had a mid season break and he shown enough to suggest he can find his way into the winner's enclosure."
b g Elnadim - Marhaba
Winner of two of his six starts. Gaining his second success at Ascot (1m) when beating Banksea half a length in a handicap there in May off a mark of 83 and not disgraced in the Britannia Handicap at Royal Ascot (1m) last week when ninth of 28, beaten seven and three quarter lengths, to Defrocked off his current mark of 89.
"He ran an excellent race in the Britannia Handicap at Royal Ascot on ground that was too soft for him and he could return there for another mile handicap there on July 8."
b g Major Cadeaux - Ballerina Suprema
No wins from 6 starts. Came closest to victory at Beverley (1m 2f) in May when runner-up, beaten three quarters of a length, to Livella Fella off a mark of 70. Currently rated 74.
"He has been a model of consistency throughout his career and was an unfortunate second at Beverely in May. I am not sure where he goes next - there's a maiden auction at Lingfield I am going to put him in and take a look."
b c Danehill Dancer - Strategy.
Winner of one of his 3 starts. Off the mark at Kempton (1m) in December when scoring nicely by two and a half lengths from Cape Banjo. Currently rated 83.
"Unfortunately he picked up a little niggle on his first day cantering on February 1 and he has been in rehab since. He's a fine big horse and he's not one to forget about. He will be a lovely horse for the second half of the year."
gr f Stay Thirsty - Primrose Hill
Winner of one of her two starts. Off the mark with a short head defeat of Mightaswellsmile at Redcar (6f) at the end of May and unplaced in the Albany Stakes.
"She won on her debut at Redcar and ran a satisfactory race in the Albany Stakes where the ground was on the tacky side. She's American bred and should be seen to better effect on faster ground. I'm sure she will get some black type - hopefully, sooner rather than later."
ch f Nathaniel - Parisian Elegance
"She is due to make her debut this week, She is a little bit fuzzy but has been pleasing us at home."
b c Exceed And Excel - Humdrum
"He has been pleasing us at home and is on the cusp of making his debut."
b c Firebreak - Island Rhapsody
Unplaced on his debut at Goodwood (6f) in June.
"He ran better than his finishing position suggests on his debut at Goodwood after missing the break and is very much one to keep on the right side."
JE SUIS CHARLIE
b c High Chaparral - Fin
"He is a fine big staying horse in the making, He won't do a lot this year but is worth keeping an eye on."
ch f Zoffany - Inis Boffin
"She is just about to make her debut and is on an upward curve in her work. Let's hope she continues on it."
br f Sayif - Lough Mewin
"She is pleasing in her work and being brought nicely to the boil."
b c Big Bad Bob - Tekhania
"He's bred to come into his own next year and we are sure he can do some good this year."
b c Oasis Dream - Momentary
"He is a big strong colt with a good attitude and is the first foal of a dam that won a listed race for us. We are looking at the second half of the season with him."
ch f Zebedee - Hawattef
"She is a half sister to Kodi Bear. She has been give a bit of time and is just start to get into the swing of things."
RAY'S THE MONEY
b c Dragon Pulse - Riymaisa
"He goes to Ascot on July 9 for a maiden auction. He is owned by the same owners who had Ray's The Bar who won the race last year and he has been in work for some time and should give a good account of himself."
ch c Nathaniel - Amazon Beauty
Beaten a short head and a head by Aardwolf and Sea Fox on his debut at Newbury (6 1/2f) in June.
"He ran an absolute storming race at Newbury when she was beaten narrowly and flashed home strongly. He now goes to Sandown on July 1 and, hopefully, can get off the mark."
b c Pivotal - Striving
"He is improving in leaps and bounds and we hope he will be ready to make his debut at the end of the July or early August."
ch f Dubawi - Summertime Legacy
"She is a Dubawi filly out of a Group 1 winning Darshaan mare so she could be anything. She's a May foal and won't be seen until the backend."
b f Dutch Art - Three Ducks
"She is about to run at Newbury this week and we think she is capable of a reasonable run. She looks capable of winning a race or two."
b c Rip Van Winkle - Pitrizza
"He is a really nice colt by Rip Van Winkle who hopefully makes his debut at Epsom on June 30.
BIG ORANGE - loves to hear his hooves rattle and his time surely just around the corner.
FRANKLIN D - the sort to improve further with experience and his deft turn of foot can pay dividends.
BATTS ROCK - lightly raced and plenty more to come.
DUCK A L'ORANGE - still a maiden but certainly has the ability to win races.
TOWERLANDS PARK - still recuperating from a setback but the sort to excel in the second half of the season.
RONALD R - great first effort at Newbury and can soon get off the mark.