Clive Cox is hoping the work done in the stalls at home will prevent another incident like the one at Ascot as he sends Harry Angel to Haydock to defend his 32Red Sprint Cup crown.
One of the leading sprinters currently in action, Harry Angel got upset when loading before the Diamond Jubilee Stakes in June and one of his hind legs became stuck on the back of the gate.
While he took part in the race his chance was clearly compromised and it took Cox longer to get him right than he initially thought it would. As a result, he missed the July Cup, but his trainer is now viewing that as a silver lining.
“He wasn’t just in tune to go to the July Cup which was a huge shame, but Haydock was logical after that,” said Cox.
“I’m really pleased to say he’s pleased me very much at home, over the last two or three weeks especially, and fingers crossed we can repeat last year, which was pretty special.
“The ground hopefully isn’t an issue, I’m quite relaxed in that respect.
“My team at home have worked really hard with him and I couldn’t be more happy, he’s always been a bit fractious but like a lot of sprinters, he just wants to get on with the job.”
William Haggas’ Tasleet was second in three Group Ones last season, including this race, but the hot summer has not been in his favour.
“His race is the one on Champions Day at Ascot as he appears to want really soft ground now,” said Haggas.
“He was second in three Group Ones last year. He’s only run once this year because the ground has been appalling for him so we’ve had to wait but he’s ready to go and in great shape. I’m pretty happy with him.”
Tasleet is owned by Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, as is Sir Michael Stoute’s Eqtidaar, a Royal Ascot winner in June but well beaten in the July Cup.
“Although he won the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot, he was still quite an immature horse earlier in the season,” said racing manager Angus Gold.
“Sir Michael thinks Eqtidaar has come back to himself now. When Jim (Crowley, jockey) won on him at Royal Ascot he said the Group One sprint on Champions Day in October would be his absolute race.
“I am not sure the July Course at Newmarket really suited him last time out. I am not saying that is why he was beaten that day, but he is back in good form now after his break and Jim was very happy with the horse when he rode him the other day.”
Aidan O’Brien reverts classy miler Gustav Klimt to six furlongs for the first time since his two-year-old debut.
Placed in the Irish 2,000 Guineas and St James’s Palace Stakes this season, the three-year-old represents O’Brien’s latest chance to win a race that has so far proven elusive.
He said: “We were playing around with the idea of bringing Gustav Klimt back to six. He worked on Tuesday and we were very happy with him.
“He is by Galileo, but he is out of a very fast mare.”
George Scott saddles his stable star James Garfield, who was so narrowly denied when second to Polydream in the Prix Maurice de Gheest. Frankie Dettori will fly in for the ride after partnering Enable at Kempton.
“He came right back to form and some more last time. I think he just reset for sprinting and he’d had a break since Ascot. We put some headgear on him and a combination of those things saw him in his best light,” said Scott.
“It looks a mixed forecast and it will probably be on the soft side of good. It shouldn’t bother him, he’s shown good form with cut in the ground, the Acomb was almost a washout when he nearly won that and the Greenham was on soft ground as well.
“I think his preferred surface would be slightly faster, but I don’t think we’ll be using it as an excuse.”
The Tin Man has finished second and third in the last two runnings and trainer James Fanshawe is hoping he can make it third time lucky this weekend.
“I’m not going to make too many predictions, but he’s in good form going into the race and his races have been nicely spaced, so I hope he gets a bit of luck in running,” the trainer told At The Races.
“You just hope you’re near the pace because last time in Deauville (finished third in Prix Maurice de Gheest) we were away from the pace and he finished very well, but we were on the wrong side.”
Kevin Ryan’s Brando was second in the July Cup, but failed in his bid to win the Maurice de Gheest back-to-back last time out, finishing only eighth.
“We backed off him after his last run and freshened him up,” said Ryan, ahead of the latest leg in the Qipco British Champions Series.
“He’s had a nice preparation, everything has gone to plan. We’re very happy with him. We’re hopeful he’ll run a big race on Saturday.”
Ryan also runs Hey Jonesy, fifth in the Commonwealth Cup in June.
“He ran very well at Ascot. He disappointed last time, but he seems in really good form now. It’s a big step up, but the owners are very willing to let him take his chance and we’re hopeful he’ll run a nice race as well,” said Ryan.
Gerald Mosse has struck up a great partnership with David Elsworth’s Sir Dancealot, who has been doing his winning over seven furlongs.
“I really believe he’s a Group One horse. I think if the ground is on the soft side that will suit him. That would be better than if it is too quick coming back from seven furlongs to six,” said Mosse.
“I think he might just struggle to find his stride if it was too quick, but I would prefer it softer and I think he would as well.”