AL Aasy warms up for a potential tilt at the Qipco Champion Stakes when he has his first start since being gelded at Newbury today.
The son of Sea The Stars looked destined for the top after registering back-to-back Group Three victories at the Berkshire venue in the spring, and was the favourite to make a successful Group One debut in the Coronation Cup at Epsom.
But after travelling smoothly into contention, Al Aasy was outbattled by the admirable Pyledriver, and he was then again beaten a neck by Sir Ron Priestley when odds-on for Newmarket’s Princess of Wales’s Stakes.
Now the William Haggas-trained four-year-old makes his first appearance in more than two months in the Dubai Duty Free Legacy Cup.
“Since we gelded Al Aasy, this was the race I always had in my mind for him, but I do think he wants soft ground,” said Yorkshire-born Haggas.
“I’m pleased to get him back on the track, but he’ll be a bit rusty. I harbour this desire to have a crack at the Champion Stakes over a mile and a quarter on heavy ground if that is what happens, so he needs a run. He’ll be better for the race, but I think he’ll run a good race.”
Al Aasy’s four rivals include his stablemate Ilaraab, who bids to bounce back from a disappointing performance in last month’s Ebor at York.
Haggas added: “Ilaraab never looked happy in the Ebor. He was drawn wide, and it was almost game over really.
“Tom (Marquand) said he took a false step at the top of the straight, and that was it. We need to find out where he’s at, because he was such a nice horse last year and started well this season.”
The other Group Three is the Dubai International Airport World Trophy, which sees the Haggas-trained Hurricane Ivor step up in class after last weekend’s triumph in the Portland Handicap at Doncaster under Marquand.
Meanwhile Bielsa - named after the Leeds United manager – carries Yorkshire hopes in today’s Ayr Gold Cup for trainer Kevin Ryan and jockey Kevin Stott, an ardent Manchester United fan.