Regardez can defy penalty and show stamina on return to York

Mukhadram, winning the Sky Bet Stakes at York last year, is declared for the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.
Mukhadram, winning the Sky Bet Stakes at York last year, is declared for the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.
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RALPH BECKETT has always held his filly Regardez in the highest of regards. Now she has a chance to repay that faith on day one of York’s music showcase weekend.

Buoyed by a six-length success at Newcastle on her last appearance, Regardez has the potential to be the star turn in the British Stallion Studs EBF Lyric Stakes.

The three-year-old daughter of Champs Elysees faces seven rivals and is required to carry a 3lb penalty for her recent Listed victory – as does Godolphin’s Tasaday.

However, it should not be forgotten that Regardez was third to Madame Chiang in the Tattersalls Musidora Stakes at May’s Dante meeting and stamina will not be an issue in today’s 10-furlong test.

“I am looking forward to running her again. She came out of the race at Newcastle well. I am slightly sceptical as to the form at face value, in the sense that the first and second favourite both disappointed,” said Beckett.

“But, at the same time, she ran a good time and you couldn’t fail to be impressed by the way she did it. York suited her in the Musidora and I think it will suit her again on Friday. I am hopeful that she will go close, but obviously it will be more difficult under a penalty.”

With York enjoying a warm week, horses are likely to be competing on summer ground – but the signs are that Regardez appreciates fast underfoot conditions. Beckett added: “It was quick at Newcastle and she bounced off it and I don’t think that will be a problem.”

Newmarket-based trainer William Jarvis is also looking forward to running Raskova in the same contest. The daughter of Henrythenavigator has been in good form this summer, winning a handicap at Nottingham on her penultimate start before finishing second in a handicap at Ascot last time out.

Jarvis said: “Raskova is in good form. She has been running consistently well in handicaps and deserves a crack at a Listed race. She is well bred and it would be great to try and get some ‘black type’ with her. She needs to improve a couple of pounds on official ratings but she is very well.”

In addition to Tasaday, Godolphin will also be represented by Albasharah, while in-form trainer Tom Dascombe runs Ripon handicap scorer Wall Of Sound in search of the £40,000 prize pot.

The field is completed by the Richard Fahey-trained Flycatcher, John Quinn’s Tahira and Regal Hawk, who was last seen chasing home Regardez at Newcastle.

The six-race card gets underway at 6pm with the DRS Television Apprentice Stakes, with the entertainment concluding with a post-race concert by The Beach Boys.

As for tomorrow’s card, the Group Two Sky Bet York Stakes – the prelude to a concert by Wet Wet Wet – has attracted a select eight-runner field that includes Beckett’s Secret Gesture, who was second in last year’s Epsom Oaks and who finally returned to winning ways at Nottingham last month. A significant absentee, however, is John Smith’s Cup hero Farraaj.

Last year’s renewal was won by the William Haggas-trained Mukhadram, who is one of nine horses declared for tomorrow’s King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.

With the participation of John Gosden’s Eagle Top still in doubt because of the likely fast ground at the Berkshire track – a decision will be made during racing today – Skipton-born Haggas is confident following Mukhadram’s Group One success in Sandown’s Coral-Eclipse Stakes earlier this month when Paul Hanagan snatched a race-winning lead early in the home straight.

“Mukhadram is fine, he is in good shape. We had a little blip last week with a minor foot problem but he seems well now,” said Haggas. “He should get his ideal conditions – a nice warm day and fast ground, which he loves – so we will just have to see what happens.

“I haven’t had a runner in the race since my Derby winner Shaamit in 1996. In the old days it was the natural race to go on to after the Derby but Shaamit was very sore after Epsom and had only just come back to himself in time for the King George.

“He still managed third behind two very good four-year-olds, but if I trained him now I would probably have waited with him.

“When I was young, the King George was the mid-summer race. As far as I’m concerned it still is and it’s great to be part of it. It’s quite hard to find a horse good enough to run in it with a chance.

“Our stable has only recently grown in strength and in the future we hope to be more consistent in having opportunities to take part in races like this.”