James Fanshawe reports The Tin Man in fine shape as the popular sprinter bids to open his account for the campaign in the bet365 Hackwood Stakes at Newbury.
The seven-year-old lifted Saturday’s Group Three prize in 2016, and has shown he retains plenty of ability with two creditable recent displays.
Third to Dream Of Dreams on his seasonal reappearance at Windsor in May, The Tin Man then did not get the best of runs when sixth to Blue Point in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Fanshawe was pleased with that effort, and is hoping a drop in grade can see the three-time Group One scorer return to winning ways.
“He’s run two good races this year without winning. We’re coming back in class a little bit and will see how we get on,” said the Newmarket handler.
“He ran very well at Ascot. It’s the first time he gets in a Group Three without a penalty this year, so we decided to go this route.
“He won this race three years ago. He’s obviously three years older now, (but) he seems in good form at home.”
Khaadem ran below par in the Commonwealth Cup at Ascot, but trainer Charlie Hills feels the three-year-old has come back to himself in the last fortnight.
Before his disappointing effort, Khaadem had looked good on his seasonal return when beating Roger Teal’s re-opposing Oxted by half-a-length in the Listed Carnarvon Stakes over this course and distance.
“He’s obviously won there before,” said Hills.
“I think he was a little bit under the weather last time at Ascot, but we’ve been pleased with him the last couple of weeks.
“I don’t think he’ll mind the the rain. It shouldn’t be too bad for him.”
Andrew Balding is hoping the heavens open to improve Donjuan Triumphant’s chances.
The six-year-old’s best form is when the mud is flying, as he showed when winning a Listed contest at Doncaster in November.
Balding said: “The rain has been falling. He’d need a fair bit more to get the ground conditions he relishes – but if it was good to soft or softer, I’d be pretty hopeful he’d run well.”
Hugo Palmer hopes there is not too much rain to put doubt into Set Piece running in the bet365 Stakes, registered as the Steventon Stakes.
The son of Dansili has not been seen since running unplaced in the 2000 Guineas, having finished third in the Craven Stakes, but Palmer is happy with the horse and is looking forward to stepping him up to a mile and a quarter.
“Obviously he hasn’t run since the Guineas, but he’s been in great order,” said the Newmarket trainer.
“He’s had some time and he’s stronger and he’s improved, but I’m nervous about this rain. We wouldn’t want to see too much.”
“I think good ground would be fine, but if it starts going to the slow side of good we might have to contemplate his participation.
“He’s an older horse now and he has a beautiful pedigree.
“All his work suggests he will stay, and he’s got a turn of foot, and if he can use that at the end of a mile and a quarter I think that’s another angle to see some improvement out of him.”
In contrast, Pondus goes back in distance after finding the mile and a half too far when fading in the final two furlongs to be well beaten behind Japan in the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot.
The Fanshawe-trained colt had previously looked very progressive, having won twice over this trip at Nottingham and Sandown.
“For a Listed race, it looks quite tough,” said the trainer.
“He was a little bit keen at Ascot and didn’t get home, but before then he was very progressive over a mile and a quarter.
“We’re dropping him back to that distance, and he seems in good form.”
Fox Chairman, from the Balding stable, was third to Sangarius in the Hampton Court Stakes at the Royal fixture on what was only his third career start.
The Kingsclere trainer respects the opposition, especially Pondus.
Balding said: “We’re really happy with him. Obviously he ran well at Ascot, and I hope he’s ready to run a decent race.
“I think James Fanshawe’s horse has got lots of untapped potential as well – so it will be an interesting race – and there are other good horses there too, but I’d hope he’d run well.”