Ivory still hopeful for Tropics to succeed in Duke of York

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DEAN Ivory expects Tropics to have lost some of his rustiness when he reappears in the Duke of York Clipper Logistics Stakes in a week’s time.

One of the Dante festival’s day one highlights, Tropics came to prominence last year when winning the Sky Bet Dash under Robert Winston before recording notable wins at Newmarket and Ascot.

The Group One Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot, European racing’s premier six furlong sprint, is now the mid-season target.

“He’ll run next week in the Duke of York,” said Ivory yesterday as trainers begin to finalise their plans for next week’s Dante meeting.

“We’re really looking forward to it, he usually needs a run or two.”

Ivory said “hopefully” a trip to Royal Ascot for the Diamond Jubilee would then be on the agenda.

Meanwhile, Ralph Beckett is hoping for suitable going to allow Cubanita to take her chance in the Yorkshire Cup on Friday week.

The five-year-old mare made a pleasing seasonal debut when winning the John Porter Stakes at Newbury, but she does need some cut in the ground.

She also holds an entry in the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh on May 25, but Beckett would prefer to take her to York for the Group Two over a mile-and-three-quarters.

“I would prefer the Yorkshire Cup at this stage,” said the trainer.

York is set to be the starting point in 2014 for Oaks second Secret Gesture, who is set to make her reappearance in the Betfred Middleton Stakes.

Meanwhile, Charlie Hills believes he has a good chance of emulating his father by winning the StanJames.com Chester Cup on the Roodee today.

Barry Hills loved nothing better than having a winner at Chester’s May Festival and collected the big race twice with Rainbow High in 1999 and 2001 and then with Daraahem in 2009.

After taking over from his father in 2011, the new incumbent of Faringdon Place has a leading contender for the extended two-and-a-quarter-mile handicap in Glenard.

Luck is already on Hills’s side as the four-year-old was the last horse to make the cut for the maximum 17-strong field, while a number of notable horses, including ante-post Perfect Heart, missed out.

Glenard has had the benefit of a pipe-opener at Kempton five weeks ago when he was a close sixth to Castilo Del Diablo.

Hills has also secured the services of Liverpool-born jockey Franny Norton, one of the best exponents around Chester.

“The ground looks like it’s come good for him and he should run a big race. He should get the trip and I’m sure he’ll be thereabouts,” he said. “He should get into a good rhythm and if he settles nicely he’d have every chance.”

The Richard Fahey-trained Angel Gabrial is one of five horses wearing the colours of rugby league owner Dr Marwan Koukash, who was successful 12 months ago with Address Unknown.