DAVID Elsworth is more hopeful than confident about the chances of Sir Dancealot claiming a third successive victory in the Qatar Lennox Stakes on day one of Glorious Goodwood.
The six-year-old was a short-head winner of the seven-furlong Group Two in 2018 – and managed to successfully defend his crown 12 months ago to get his veteran trainer off the cold list.
Elsworth has sent out just two winners from his Newmarket base in 2020 so far, with Sir Dancealot finishing fourth in the Criterion Stakes at Newmarket and seventh in the July Cup.
The veteran trainer, so long associated with top Flat stayer Persian Punch and Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Desert Orchid, said: “Our horses don’t seem to be running great at the moment, so confidence is pretty low.
“Having said that, I think Sir Dancealot’s two runs this year have been pretty encouraging. The ground looks like it will be softer than we’d like, but he obviously acts well at Goodwood and he is in good shape.”
Sir Dancealot is one of 13 runners declared, with the hat-trick seeking Space Blues heading the betting for Charlie Appleby who also saddles Glorious Journey and D’bai.
Paul and Oliver Cole are represented by Duke Of Hazzard, who is unbeaten in three previous visits to Goodwood and finished third in the Summer Mile at Ascot earlier in the month.
Another major player is John Quinn’s Safe Voyage, who handles cut in the ground and was last seen landing the Listed Surrey Stakes at Epsom on Derby day. “We’re very happy with him,” said the Malton trainer. “He is in very good form and we’re very hopeful he’ll run a big race.”
Meanwhile Royal Ascot hero Battleground puts his tall reputation on the line in the Veuve Clicquot Vintage Stakes.
As well as being a son of American speedster War Front, Aidan O’Brien’s youngster is the first foal out of the yard’s brilliant racemare Found – best known for winning the 2016 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. Despite finishing a never-nearer fifth on his racecourse debut at Naas in early June, Battleground won the Chesham Stakes 10 days later at Royal Ascot.
O’Brien said: “He’s a big, powerful horse with a lovely mind. He’s very uncomplicated and mentally very easy – he hasn’t shown any issues yet, either mentally or physically.
“This will be another step in his life. Found was an unbelievable mare – so tough it was incredible.
“She was one filly who would lay her whole soul out for you every day.
“When she won the Arc, it was a day none of us will ever forget.”
Other contenders include Roger Varian’s Dark Lion, the Mark Johnston-trained pair of King Zain and Thunder Of Niagra and Gorytus from Richard Fahey’s yard.
The Classic-winning three-year-olds Kameko and Siskin square up in a field of seven for the race of the season in the Qatar Sussex Stakes tomorrow.
They were victorious in the English and Irish 2000 Guineas respectively and now take on the older horses in Wednesday’s Group One over a mile.
Charlie Appleby has an autumn campaign in mind for his smart juvenile Master Of The Seas.
Unbeaten in two outings, only Group Ones are on the agenda from now on according to the Godolphin trainer. They include Doncaster’s Vertem Futurity Trophy in late October.
More National Hunt horses will be able to line up from this weekend onwards.
Field sizes had been reduced to 12 following the sport’s Covid-19 lockdown.
But racing’s authorities have now said field sizes can revert to the maximum limit permissible at each racecourse.
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