David Elsworth is more hopeful than confident about the chances of Sir Dancealot claiming a third successive victory in the Qatar Lennox Stakes at Goodwood on Tuesday.
The six-year-old was a short-head winner of the seven-furlong Group Two in 2018 – and managed to successfully defend his crown 12 months ago to get his veteran trainer off the cold list, having not saddled a winner since Dandhu won the Fred Darling at Newbury on April 13.
Elsworth has sent out just two winners from his Newmarket base in 2020 so far, with Sir Dancealot finishing fourth in the Criterion Stakes at Newmarket and seventh in the July Cup, although both runs were not devoid of promise.
Elsworth said: “Our horses don’t seem to be running great at the moment, so confidence is pretty low. Having said that, I think Sir Dancealot’s two runs this year have been pretty encouraging.
“I think with a clear run he would have been second to Limato on his first run of the year, when he wasn’t fully tuned up, and I thought he ran a good race to be beaten less than five lengths in the July Cup the other day.
“The ground looks like it will be softer than we’d like, but he obviously acts well at Goodwood and he is in good shape.”
Sir Dancealot is one of 13 runners declared, with the hat-trick seeking Space Blues heading the betting for Charlie Appleby, who also saddles Glorious Journey and D’bai.
Paul and Oliver Cole are represented by Duke Of Hazzard, who is unbeaten in three previous visits to Goodwood and finished third in the Summer Mile at Ascot earlier in the month.
Oliver Cole said: “He has always had plenty of speed this horse, so I don’t think coming back to seven furlongs will be a problem. The mile race (Sussex Stakes) looks very hot on Wednesday, so this looked the obvious race for him.
“He did run well in the Summer Mile last time, but from what I’m seeing on the gallops, he’s in better form now than he was going into the Summer Mile.
“I think he’s in the best form he’s been in all year and I hope he’s going back to Goodwood with a massive chance.”
Another major player is John Quinn’s Safe Voyage, who handles cut in the ground and was last seen landing the Listed Surrey Stakes at Epsom on Derby day.
“We’re very happy with him and they’re calling the ground good, good to soft in places at the moment, which will suit him,” said Quinn.
“He is in very good form and we’re very hopeful he’ll run a big race.”