Harry Bentley believes dual Group One winner Limato can make his class count and get back to winning ways as he concedes weight all round in the Randox Health Criterion Stakes at Newmarket.
The Henry Candy-trained seven-year-old will return to the scene of his 2016 July Cup success on Saturday when moving back up to seven furlongs for the first time since landing the Challenge Stakes on the Rowley Mile in October.
Bentley partnered Limato to fourth on his seasonal return in last month’s Group Two Duke of York Stakes, and expects the Paul Jacobs-owned gelding to be hard to beat with that run under his belt.
Bentley said: “I’ve not sat on him since he last ran at York. It looks like the ground will be ideal for him – and we know he likes the track, having won the July Cup back in 2016, so conditions look like they are going to suit.
“Quite often these sprint races are tactical and incredibly competitive – and sometimes things don’t go to plan – but that was his first run of the season at York, and I thought he still ran creditably.
“He is back down to Group Three company, and we know he has proven form at Group One level.
“He has won a Foret over seven, and I still think he is as effective over both six and seven furlongs. There are a few you have to watch out for, but hopefully he should be good enough to overcome that penalty.”
Having chased home subsequent Diamond Jubilee runner-up Dream Of Dreams over six furlongs in a Listed race at Windsor last time out, Glorious Journey is expected to make his presence felt stepping back up in trip.
His trainer Charlie Appleby said: “Glorious Journey has rock-solid form going into the race, and the step back up in trip will suit him as well. A repeat performance of his last start will see him go close.
“The ground should be decent, so there should be no excuses. I dropped him back to see as a bit of an experiment really, and he put up a good performance.
“These Dubawis get quicker as they get older, so I’m not ruling coming back to six later down the line.”
David O’Meara expects Suedois, flying the flag for the Upper Helmsley handler with stablemate Salateen, will not be inconvenienced by switching back to a quick surface after finishing second in testing conditions at Haydock.
He said: “There was no suitable race for Suedois at Royal Ascot, because the stiff mile there is too much for him and he finds six furlongs a bit sharp, so the Criterion Stakes fits nicely into his programme – he is best at seven furlongs, or around the bend over a mile.
“He has come out of his run in the John of Gaunt really well, and this change to fast ground won’t bother him because he goes on anything.
“He is a very good horse, a Grade One winner in the past, so I expect him to be competitive on Saturday.
“Salateen probably has a bit to find on Saturday but he will like the quick ground.”
The field is completed by Breton Rock (David Simcock), Cardsharp (Mark Johnston), Larchmont Lad (Joe Tuite) and Tabarrak (Richard Hannon).