TOP middle distance pretender Mohaafeth is likely to contest the Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot next week following his late withdrawal from the Cazoo Derby.
The Frankel colt was considered a leading contender for the premier Classic for jockey Jim Crowley, having made it three from three this season with a hugely impressive display in the Listed Newmarket Stakes on Guineas weekend.
However, with rainfall throughout Friday ensuring the ground at Epsom was on the soft side, trainer William Haggas made the difficult to decision to pull him out of the Derby and instead wait for the Royal meeting.
Angus Gold, racing manager for owners Shadwell Estate Company Ltd, said: “William has always been quoted as saying this horse wants fast ground.
“We all walked the track and we thought it was probably fine to run, but William made the point that it wasn’t his ground and his feeling was that he wasn’t going to win it in that ground.
“If you did run you’d risk messing up Ascot, it’s the middle of the season and we need to know where we’re going with this horse.
“If he’d run seventh or eighth and had a hard race and hadn’t recovered in time for Ascot, we’re getting to July without knowing what sort of horse we’ve got to go to war with, so to speak.
“William just felt it wasn’t the right thing to do to run him.”
Mohaafeth is entered in the King Edward VII Stakes on Friday week, but is set to run instead over a mile and a quarter at Group Three level the previous afternoon.
Gold said: “It’s most likely he’ll run in the mile-and-a-quarter race, I would think. There is quite a body of opinion around the horse that thinks he might end up a mile-and-a-quarter horse.”
Meanwhile Great Habton trainer Tim Easterby reports Winter Power in fine shape for the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot following her impressive victory at York last month.
The three-year-old filly staked a big claim for sprint honours when running away with the Listed Westow Stakes on the Knavesmire.
She was carrying on where she left off last year, having ended a busy juvenile campaign with a convincing victory in the Group Three Cornwallis Stakes at Newmarket.
Easterby said: “She’s in great order, she couldn’t be better. She was impressive at York, and she’s impressive all the time.”
The trainer also expects Art Power to line up in the six furlong Group One Diamond Jubilee Stakes after he too made his seasonal reappearance at York’s May meeting.
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