Paul D’Arcy believes Spring Loaded has plenty in his favour as he aims to follow up a hugely impressive win at Ascot in the Unibet Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood.
A wide-margin winner of the Portland at Doncaster last season, he ran well in the Wokingham before bolting up over five furlongs last month.
He carries a 6lb penalty for that win but was put up 7lb by the handicapper and Ryan Moore has been booked.
“I think he’s going there with a good chance. He has a good draw, he’s 1lb well-in and he’s got a top jockey on him,” said D’Arcy.
“Ryan has ridden him before, but he was last of four on his debut. I think he’s improved a bit since then!
“I think the key to him is the ground. He wants quick ground. When he won the Portland it was the soft side of good but that suited him that day over five and a half furlongs – it made it a bit more testing for him – but obviously he was well handicapped that day.
“He’s six now, I think he’s only just coming to himself.”
Foxtrot Lady is trying to emulate her half-sister Dancing Star who also won this as a three-year-old in 2016 for owner Jeff Smith and trainer Andrew Balding.
“It’s uncanny the parallel between the two, running in the same races. She has such a similar profile it’s amazing, really.” said Smith.
“She only scrambled home last time but the first two were three lengths clear of the rest so we’ve got to be pretty hopeful.
“After this I’d guess black type will be the hope. Handicaps are probably a thing of the past but we’ll see.”
Richard Fahey saddles Growl, having his third run in the race, the enigmatic George Bowen and the filly Marie Of Lyon.
“Rain would help Growl. I thought he was a bit unlucky at York the other day, as he was away from all the pace. He is in great order, but rain would help him,” said Fahey.
“George Bowen needs a lifetime best to win, but he is in great form. He trotted up the other day, so we are happy with him. He will have to be a Group horse to win with that rating.
“He is most definitely a character, it just depends which George Bowen turns up. On his day, he is pretty smart, as you have seen.
“I’ve had this race in mind since the start of the season for Marie Of Lyon, but a bit of rain would help her to be at her best.”
Top weight is Hugo Palmer’s Gifted Master, who will be ridden by star apprentice Jason Watson.
“I was advised by people’s opinion I respect I want to be as high as possible, and stall 25 was as high we could get at that point,” said Palmer.
“Often in these races you want to be where the pace is and Gifted Master is probably the pace, or is certainly one of the best pace angles.
“I’m confident the horse is in great shape. I know he handles Goodwood, as he has been third in a Lennox. He always gives a good run for his money and wears his heart on his sleeve.”
Veteran trainer Peter Hedger feels has Silent Echo in great shape following his fifth in the Wokingham, but is worried about his draw in stall 11.
Hedger, who is 80 next year, said: “I would like to have been a bit closer to Gifted Master as he will provide the pace angle and is bound to blaze.
“He is 2lb better off in this race than he was in the Wokingham at Royal Ascot, where he finished fifth.
“We’ve always kept him at six and seven furlongs, but six furlongs seems to be his best trip. I would be disappointed if he is not in the first five.”