Kevin Ryan’s top-class sprinter Brando is bidding for a third successive win in the Connaught Access Flooring Abernant Stakes at Newmarket.
Ryan has used Wednesday’s Group Three as the starting point for the last two years for Brando, who also won a handicap at this meeting in 2016.
A real money-spinner for connections, having also won an Ayr Gold Cup and the Group One Prix Maurice de Gheest in France, he just failed to add to his laurels last season when second in the Haydock Sprint Cup to The Tin Man.
“It’s a good starting point for him – it’s worked the last two years, so let’s hope it can work again,” said the Hambleton handler.
“We’ve been happy with him at home, so we’re looking forward to running him.
“He comes to hand early each year – and he just likes Newmarket, which is why we’ve started him off there for the last three years. He even likes the July Course just as much
“We’ve started the season in decent form. Starting him here has worked well in the past, so we’ve done nothing different to the past few years.”
Hugo Palmer has similar affection for stable stalwart Gited Master.
On the go since scoring on his debut in 2015, he has wins over five, six, seven and eight furlongs – with 11 successes to his name, including the Stewards’ Cup last August.
He has had one run in Dubai this year when sixth behind Blue Point.
“It didn’t really happen for him out in Dubai, but he’s been in good form at home since he came back,” said Palmer.
“His summer coat hasn’t quite come through yet, and I think he will come on for the run, but he does seem on very good terms with himself.
“He always runs well at Newmarket and hopefully he will do so again.”
Richard Hannon’s Yafta is another consistent type, only finishing out of the first two once in six races last season, in the final of those at Newbury in the Hungerford Stakes.
He starts off back over six furlongs, the trip at which he won the Hackford Stakes.
“Yafta has been a yard favourite for a long time and he has come back better again this year,” said Hannon on his website.
“He managed to bag a Group Three last year, and I see no reason why he shouldn’t do the same again.
“The favourite deserves to be there – but if he can run up to his form at Newbury last year he should be very competitive.”
John Gosden runs Dreamfield in the Godolphin blue – all the rage for the Wokingham on just his fourth ever run last season when he nearly landed an almighty gamble.
Sent off the 2-1 favourite in a field of 28, he was reeled in with just a few strides to go by Bacchus.
Charlie Hills has always thought plenty of Equilateral. But he appeared to have no excuses in the Cammidge Trophy at Doncaster on his return to action and now has questions to answer.
Stuart Williams’ Keystroke, Tim Pinfield’s Sir Thomas Gresham and David O’Meara’s new recruit Time’s Arrow complete the eight-runner field.