Michael Appleby is hopeful Caspian Prince can defy his big weight in the Tote Rockingham Handicap at the Curragh on Saturday.
Appleby has made the nine-year-old’s task less exacting by giving 7lb claimer Andrew Breslin the ride, but Caspian Prince will still have to concede lumps of weight to much of the opposition.
However, the Rutland trainer feels Caspian Prince has plenty going for him. He should appreciate the fast ground and has proven form at Group Two level at the Curragh.
Caspian Prince took the scalp of subsequent Nunthorpe heroine Marsha in the Sapphire Stakes over the course and distance in July and was fourth to Caravaggio in the Flying Five Stakes on his last visit in September.
“You’d have to think he’d have a good chance,” said Appleby.
“We’re taking 7lb off, so hopefully if he gets out quick he won’t be far away.
“The ground should be quick as well, so it should be spot on for him. He’s won there before.
“The only thing that might beat him is the weight, but with 7lb off he’s only got 2lb more than he had last time.”
Sprint specialist Paul Midgley reports his three runners – Move In Time, Line Of Reason and Patrick – to be in tip-tip shape and is just hoping for the rub of the green in such a hot contest.
“Two have got good draws, Patrick has got an average draw, I think,” said the North Yorkshire handler.
“I like to be middle to high. The speed is from middle to high, so I think Line of Reason (in stall 14) and Move In Time (15) have got good draws.
“They are in great form and both can win off their mark.
“We need a little bit of luck. The ground and the track will be fine for them both, so I’ll be looking for big runs from those two.
“The draw makes it more difficult for Patrick. He was just touched off in it last year and if he had a good draw I’d fancy him a lot more than I do because he’s drawn one.
“I know he’s out of the handicap, but I think he’s still well handicapped.
“We’ve got three good riders, so it’s fingers crossed.”
Other British contenders are David Griffiths’ pair of Duke Of Firenze and Lucky Beggar, Declan Carroll’s Justanotherbottle, Michael Wigham’s Foxy Forever, Scott Dixon’s Dark Shot and Only Spoofing from Jedd O’Keeffe’s stable.
Of the home contingent, Willie McCreery feels Patuano, who was fifth 12 months ago, has the ability to run another big race from stall nine.
“She’s well-drawn, there’s speed all around her and, if she can go the early pace, I think she has a good chance,” said the County Kildare trainer.