John Gosden expects King Of Comedy to improve for his comeback run in Saturday’s MansionBet’s Beaten By A Head Diomed Stakes at Newbury.
The Kingman colt will drop back to Group Three company on his return in the mile prize, which has been switched from Epsom, having finished down the field in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on his final start last season.
Although Gosden believes last year’s St James’s Palace Stakes runner-up will step forward for the outing, the Newmarket handler is confident both the track and trip will be in his favour.
Gosden said: “King Of Comedy is finding his way back having run in a Group One on his last start.
“He will come on a great deal for any race he has, though he did make a winning start at Yarmouth last year.
“I had him entered last week and it was good to firm and with the 72-hour decs I didn’t declare him because of the ground and blow me the rain came, but I couldn’t predict that. The track and the distance will suit him.”
History Writer signed off last season with a career best effort in winning a Listed race at Saint-Cloud, however his trainer David Menusier feels the five-year-old faces a tall order on ground that could be quicker than ideal.
Menusier said: “The main thing about History Writer is that he is very ground dependant and if the ground is not soft or worse, he will be out of his league. He needs a race to blow the cobwebs away.
“The horse will start improving with time and when he gets his proper conditions, which by the look of the forecast I’m not sure will happen on Saturday.
“He is in good form though and the form of his win at Saint-Cloud is strong, but he will be really smart when conditions are desperate.”
Richard Hannon will give stable stalwart Tabarrak the chance to gain an overdue first Pattern race success.
Hannon said: “Tabarrak is a very popular horse in the yard and he wins his share of races each season and hopefully this year will be no different.
“He is a lovely gelding that has a lot of ability and tries hard in all his races. He has won Listed races before so it would be nice if he could win a Group race.
“This is just his starting point and being as he is a big, heavy horse, he will probably need the run while he wouldn’t want the ground getting soft. ”
Look Around had some useful form next to her name last season in Pattern company without getting her head in front- something trainer Andrew Balding hopes she can put right this campaign.
Balding said: “Look Around ran in some decent races last season and she won a Listed race as a two-year-old. She is a filly that we like a lot and we are keen to get going again.
“It looks a strong Group Three and the options of keeping her against fillies are not really around. She has been good at home, but this is very much a springboard to the season.”
Connections of Marie’s Diamond hope conditions remain quick to give the Mark Johnston-trained four-year-old the best chance of backing up his front-running Listed victory at Newmarket last weekend.
Tim Palin, racing manager for owner Middleham Park Racing, said: “I think Newmarket the other day was the first time since he was a two-year-old he had fast ground. He likes to be aggressively ridden and Silvestre (de Sousa) made sure he asserted from the start.
“It was great to see him bounce back as he was a genuine Group performer as a two-year-old. Since returning from a hip problem he has come back better than ever.
“He is as tough as old boots and is the sort of horse that backs up well and hopefully he get some more Group wins.”
The Sir Michael Stoute-trained Zaaki is reported to be in good shape ahead of his attempt to make a winning return to action for the third season in succession.
James Horton, assistant trainer, said: “Zaaki is fresh and well and appears to be in good form.
“He runs well fresh as we saw last season when he won his first two starts. The only thing we wouldn’t want is too much rain.”
Ed Walker feels Stormy Antarctic will have to pull out plenty if he is to defy a penalty and make his first start in 321 days a winning one.
He said: “He will love the ground as we know and he seems as youthful as ever. He had a quiet year last year, but a good one winning a Group Three and a Group Two. He got sick after Germany and that was the end of that.
“He is absolutely fine now. He has bounced back and seems in great form. It will be a tough race though giving a penalty away to the likes of King Of Comedy.”
The field is completed by Century Dream (Simon and Ed Crisford) and Chatez (Alan King).