PETER NIVEN has opted not to run stable star Clever Cookie in the Ascot Gold Cup - the blue riband race of this week’s Royal meeting.
The Malton trainer took the decision after former jump jockey Mick Fitzgerald walked the Berkshire track this morning.
Clever Cookie, bred by Niven’s mother and already a winner at Chester and York this season, is likely to line up in the Northumberland Plate at Newcastle on Saturday week - conditions permitting.
Fourteen horses have been declared for the two-and-a-half mile stayers’ championship, headed by hot favourite Forgotten Rules for legendary Irish trainer Dermot Weld.
Marco Botti’s Grade One-winning Tac De Boistron is also in the line-up, although he does need cut in the ground and he was withdrawn on the day of the race 12 months ago because of conditions.
“It’s a real tough one; he’s gone on fast ground before but he hasn’t really shown his true form on it,” said Niven.
“It’s whether it is worth the risk or not. York was good ground but since they redid Ascot it has a history of getting very quick and I’ve spoken to other trainers who have said their horses have come back sore from there.”