Sinagpore sprint star Lim’s Cruiser could add an extra international element to the Darley July Cup after featuring among 43 initial entries for the Newmarket showpiece on July 13.
The six-year-old bids for a third win in the Lion City Cup, which is a local Group One, at Kranji on Saturday and a decent performance could book his ticket for Britain.
Trainer Stephen Gray previously brought Emperor Max to finish seventh in the 2015 Champions Sprint at Ascot and is keen to have another crack at a British Group One prize.
He said: “The chances of Lim’s Cruiser running in the Darley July Cup are quite good. He will run here in Singapore on Saturday and provided he pulls up well from that, his trip to England is all arranged and already agreed.
“It’s not all about winning, your racing has a fantastic history and it’s about competing and being an advocate for Singapore racing. But I can assure you that I am taking this project very seriously and I’m not just coming over just to eat your Yorkshire puddings!
“He’s also entered in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot and the six furlongs with an uphill finish should be good for him as he relaxes beautifully and is a good strong finisher.”
He added: “I brought Emperor Max over and he ran very well at Ascot a couple of years ago, but this horse is better. He has a different style – he gets back and then hits the line strongly.
“It was nerve-racking when we came over last time, but I found it quite simple to travel that far. I learned a lot and one thing that it taught me was that it makes sense to run horses two or three times while you are over as they tend to get better and better during the stay.”
New Zealand-based speedster Enzo’s Lad, a dual winner of the Group One Telegraph Handicap, is another intriguing contender, with plenty of more familiar names also in the mix.
The Classic generation looks sure to be well represented in what is the first opportunity for the three-year-olds to take on their older rivals, with 18 from the division entered.
The unbeaten Calyx leads the way along with Group One scorers in Advertise, Ten Sovereigns, Fairyland and Pretty Pollyanna.
Invincible Army tops the list of older horses following his impressive victory in last week’s Duke of York Stakes on the Knavesmire – but trainer James Tate does not want to go to the well too often this term with his stable star.
He said: “I couldn’t be happier with the way Invincible Army has come out of last week’s Duke of York Stakes. He is fresh and well and is moving great.
“The July Cup is a legendary race and is one of four obvious targets for him before the end of the season, alongside the Diamond Jubilee Stakes, the Haydock Sprint Cup and the British Champions Sprint.
“But he’s a colt with a great record when fresh, so I wouldn’t expect him to run in more than three of them.”
Other familiar contenders include last year’s King’s Stand winner Blue Point, while there are two French contenders in Inns Of Court, runner-up in last year’s Prix de la Foret, and City Light, who was touched off in the 2018 renewal of the Diamond Jubilee.