Balding on fact-finding mission with Raise You

Weekend assignment ‘will answer a lot of questions’

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Andrew Balding hopes Raise You can prove effective on a quicker surface when the promising colt bids to give him a first victory in the Betway Fairway Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday.

The son of Lope De Vega has yet to tackle ground quicker than good to soft and steps up in both trip and class in the mile-and-a-quarter Listed contest.

After finishing second his sole start at two, Raise You opened his account on his seasonal return when running out a wide-margin winner of a maiden at Newbury last month.

Balding said: “It is a step up in trip, but I have been pleased with him and hopefully he will go well. He is only a maiden winner, though, and this is a step up in class, but his form has worked out well.

“He is by Lope De Vega and they do enjoy a bit of give, so it will be a change from that point of view, but we have got to try it at some stage. Hopefully he can handle it.

“We had the Dante in mind, but that looked a very strong race and the ground was not that different at either track, so we decided to go for the easier option. He will answer a lot of questions on Saturday and we will go from there.”

Michael Bell expects Eightsome Reel, who will carry the colours of the Queen, to put his previous experience of the track to good use in his attempt to follow up his last-time-out victory at Ripon.

Bell said: “He ran a very nice race on the track at the Craven meeting, giving weight away to a subsequent Listed winner (Jalmoud). He definitely warrants a place in the line-up.

“This has been pencilled in since he won at Ripon. He is bang on his racing weight and we are happy with how he is.”

Roger Varian calls on Kempton winner Khuzaam, who will be making his first start on turf and first at 10 furlongs.

Varian said: “His form is good from last year and we have always liked him. He is a big horse and just took a while coming to himself this spring.

“We are stepping up to 10 furlongs, which I think will be fine – it is a tough race, but we hope he runs very well.

“It was nothing to strenuous what he did at the track the other day, but it would have done him the world of good.”

Having claimed the race 12 months ago with subsequent Group One winner Old Persian, trainer Charlie Appleby will be relying on Al Hilalee to give him back-to-back victories.

Appleby said: “We are looking forward to stepping him up in trip as we always felt that was going to be the way forward with him.

“You can put a line through his run in the 2000 Guineas as he was never in any position to do anything. He was a bit slow away from the gate and you had to be up with the pace there.

“He has come out of the race well and that has tightened him up. The ground won’t be a problem and if he produces what we are seeing at home he should be a player.”

The field is completed by Stormwave, from the yard of Ralph Beckett, and the David Elsworth-trained Target Zone.

Balding on fact-finding mission with Raise You
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