Michael Dods feels six furlongs on good ground is just what the doctor ordered for Dakota Gold ahead of his bid for a Group Three success in the bet365 Hackwood Stakes at Newbury on Saturday.
Dakota Gold won three valuable handicaps between five and a half and six furlongs last term to earn the right to try better company.
The Equiano gelding wasted no time in proving himself with wins in Listed races at York over six and Ascot over five, as well as finishing second at Group Three level over the minimum trip on this course.
However, Dakota Gold has fallen short in two runs over five furlongs this term, but Dods is hoping a return to six can help him resume winning ways.
“I just feel five furlongs is fine when it’s soft,” said the County Durham trainer.
“He likes soft ground, but I think six suits him better if it’s just going to be good ground.
“He’s been campaigning in top races at present but he seems in good fettle.”
Judicial returns to action after being under the weather last week, scuppering a possible July Cup run.
However, he has recovered and got the go-ahead to run after working well and scoping clean.
The eight-year-old, trained by Julie Camacho, appears to have improved since stepping up to six furlongs and was a ready winner of the Chipchase Stakes at Newcastle last month.
He has to carry a 3lb penalty for that Group Three strike, but that does not concern connections.
“We’ve got a little penalty to carry, but we’ve earned it so we don’t mind that. He’ll find things a bit tougher for the rest of the season, but we’ve enjoyed our day,” said Camacho’s husband and assistant, Steve Brown.
“It seems as if he’s improved for the step up to six. It will be interesting to see if he can keep going forward. It opens up a new chapter for him hopefully. We’ll see how he can go over the extra furlong.”
Shine So Bright drops down from seven furlongs after finishing third to Safe Voyage in the Surrey Stakes at Epsom.
His trainer Andrew Balding expects the four-year-old to run well – especially if the going is fast.
“As long as the ground is on the quick side, I would hope he’ll run very well. I think they’re calling the ground good at the moment and as long as it stays that way, I’m sure he’ll be fine,” said the Kingsclere handler.
“He’s a very useful horse on his day and I was happy with his last run at Epsom.
“He’s been in good form since and should give a good account of himself.”
James Fanshawe’s The Tin Man, winner of this race in 2016, Tip Two Win, Mums Tipple and Repartee are among others in a competitive field.