Michael Dods on weather watch with Temple Stakes contender Mabs Cross

Firm ground could see star sprinter swerve big race at Haydock

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Michael Dods has warned Mabs Cross might not head to Haydock for the Armstrong Aggregates Temple Stakes on Saturday if conditions became too firm.

The Co Durham handler will discuss the issue with owner David Armstrong, who sponsors the Group Two heat over five furlongs, before making a decision.

Mabs Cross emerged as a contender for top sprint honours when winning the Group Three Palace House Stakes at Newmarket earlier this month.

“We’ve confirmed her but I’ve got to speak to the owners. It’s the ground, we wouldn’t want it too quick,” said Dods.

“Good, good to firm would be fine, but if it was any firmer than that I don’t know whether we’d run.

“She’s come out of Newmarket well. Obviously it’s another step up in class but we would just have to see how she copes with it if she runs.”

The ground at Haydock was described as good to firm on Monday and a further eight millmetres of water was being applied.

Prix de l’Abbaye winner Battaash is the headline act among a list of 15 five-day confirmations.

Charlie Hills’ speedster came home in splendid isolation at Chantilly in October, ending a brilliant three-year-old career that saw him win twice at Sandown and the King George Stakes at Glorious Goodwood. The only blip was a defeat in the Nunthorpe at York.

The Dark Angel gelding may well start his season on Merseyside where he would have to carry a Group One penalty.

Aidan O’Brien has yet to win this race but has four possibles as he bids to break new ground.

His team includes the five-year-old Washington DC, who was sixth in this race 12 months, could try again. Three-year-olds Actress, Declarationofpeace and Different League make up his quartet.

The latter holds two others engagement on the same card in the Sandy Lane Stakes and the Cecil Frail Stakes.

John Gosden has an interesting entry in the Godolphin-owned Dreamfield, who remains unbeaten in three starts after scoring at Ascot earlier this month after a 569-day absence.

The William Jarvis-trained Mrs Gallagher, who defeated Mabs Cross at Bath last month, is in the mix.

Completing the list are Doctor Sardonicus, Encore D’Or, Just Glamorous, Kachy, Muthmir, Take Cover and Havana Grey.

Kachy was a brilliant winner at Chester’s May meeting, but trainer Tom Dascombe will also delay a call on his participation.

He said: “Funnily enough, myself and the owner (David Lowe) haven’t made a final decision about running him on Saturday.

“There is a chance he won’t as he does seem to be a horse that is better with a good break between races, so we will make an informed decision when we have to, which will be Thursday morning.”

Dascombe also trains Doctor Sardonicus, and said: “He will definitely run. We have just got to see if he can transfer his all-weather form to the turf.”

Michael Dods on weather watch with Temple Stakes contender Mabs Cross
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