Richard Fahey feels the British Stallion Studs Clyde EBF Conditions Stakes at Hamilton on Thursday should act as the perfect preparation for Sands Of Mali’s Royal Ascot bid.
The Group One winner escapes a penalty in Scotland, but the race is far from a penalty kick.
In fact it has attracted three of the first four home from last year’s British Champions Sprint at Ascot, with only the retired Harry Angel missing.
Sands Of Mali came out on top that day, with Donjuan Triumphant third and Brando fourth, and Fahey’s charge has only run once since then when sixth behind Blue Point in Dubai.
“This race is spot on. I was going to take him for an away day, but I was nicely surprised he was qualified for this,” said Fahey.
“Don’t get me wrong, I’m far from saying this is an easy race, but there are very limited opportunities for a horse like him and when you find a conditions race for a Group One winner without a penalty, it is fantastic.
“Some people thought he ran all right in Dubai, but I personally was disappointed. I expected him to run better the way he’d been training.
“It’s a big ask going out there taking on race-fit horses, but he’s in great order now and this race has come at the right time. It saves taking him for an away day and this is probably better.”
Kevin Ryan’s Brando has race fitness on his side having run in the Abernant and the Duke of York, where he stumbled coming out of the stalls.
Royal Ascot is not on his agenda, though, with the July Cup his big aim after being placed in the last two renewals.
“He’s in great form. He was never going to Royal Ascot and this race fits in nicely into his programme ahead of his preparation for the July Cup,” said Ryan.
Donjuan Triumphant was last of six behind Hey Gaman at Leicester on his reappearance over seven furlongs and drops in trip.
The field is completed by Fighting Irish, Lahore and Lomu.