Redkirk Warrior ready for battle in Diamond Jubilee Stakes

Aussie-based sprinter revved up for Royal Ascot challenge

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It is six years since Black Caviar won the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot and the eyes of Australia are this time on Redkirk Warrior.

Redkirk Warrior actually began life in England with William Haggas, for whom he won both of his starts – surprisingly over 10 furlongs.

Frankie Dettori’s mount has now found his niche sprinting, though, and is looked after in Australia by father-and-son team Ben and David Hayes and Tom Dabernig.

The seven-year-old’s most recent run in March was his best when he defied top weight in the Grade One Newmarket Handicap at Flemington.

Ben Hayes said: “He’s a lovely, relaxed horse and he’s very easy to deal with.

“I’ve been training just over two years, and he’s by far the best horse I’ve ever trained.

“He comes here a lovely, fresh horse. When he’s had 100 days-plus off, he’s got a great record, so we’re not bothered about him being fresh.

“It just depends how he handles the day, but he’s definitely got the ability to win.”

Harry Angel is the leading home hope after two Group One wins as a three-year-old.

He returned this season with a victory at York but has been beaten in four previous outings at Ascot.

Cox said: “I don’t particularly lose any sleep that he has not got his head in front there. I think it’s more coincidence rather than a serious problem.

“Although there wasn’t a huge field, it was really pleasing at York and he came out of it well.

“I think, mentally, it’s always nice for most horses, especially sprinters, to get back in the groove.

“We were pleased he took that first test well and we’re very happy with him.”

Another horse better known in Australia is Merchant Navy, who was sent to Aidan O’Brien with the sole aim of winning this race.

His career in Europe began with a smooth success at the Curragh.

O’Brien, who also saddles Intelligence Cross and Spirit Of Valor, said: “We ran him at the Curragh hoping for a nice run. It was very good and we couldn’t have been happier with it, really.

“It is a very competitive race. We are just delighted to have him here, really.

“Intelligence Cross maybe wants seven furlongs, but he does go fast and hard, and Spirit Of Valor ran a lovely race last time at the Curragh and he was just beaten in the Jersey last year.”

Adding further international interest is Wesley Ward’s Bound For Nowhere, fourth in the Commonwealth Cup last year.

Ward told Racing UK: “He’s undefeated in the States so far and in his last race he bounded away from the best sprinters in the US.

“I think he’s going to be tough (to beat).”

Librisa Breeze was a clear-cut winner on Champions Day but his only run this year saw him well beaten in Dubai.

Ivory said: “I pulled him out of the Lockinge at Newbury as he had a runny nose.

“There was no point running him in a Group One if he wasn’t quite right so we’ve given him a bit of time off.

“With him you have to take it a race at a time.”

The Tin Man won the Diamond Jubilee by a neck last year and warmed up for a repeat bid with a tidy defeat of D’Bai at Windsor.

Trainer James Fanshawe said: “He looks fantastic and seems in good form at home so we cannot ask for much more.

“It is a hot race but he loves Ascot and when he is well he always runs a good race. ”

D’Bai rubber-stamped the Windsor form by securing victory in a Group Three at Haydock.

Trainer Charlie Appleby said: “He just showed his bit of class at Haydock in the way he travelled.

“They are going to go hard in the Diamond Jubilee and I am hoping he will be able to travel and come on to the scene late on.”

Redkirk Warrior ready for battle in Diamond Jubilee Stakes

Ascot 16:20, 23 June 2018

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