Voltigeur offers Monterosso chance to bounce back from recent defeats

MARK Johnston believes Monterosso has valid excuses for his last two defeats – and expects his Royal Ascot winner to bounce back to form in today's Sportingbet.com Great Voltigeur Stakes at York.

The King Edward VII winner had shown startling improvement previously, winning a handicap off 78 in February before going on to land the 'Ascot Derby'.

He was then supplemented into the Irish Derby where he finished fourth, but he never got competitive behind Buzzword in the German Derby – and the hectic schedule may have taken its toll.

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"He's had a little break but obviously there were a few question marks about both the Irish Derby and the Hamburg race," said Johnston.

"It was the way the races were run more than anything and in the case of the Irish Derby, the fact it came so close to Ascot (nine days).

"In going to the Voltigeur we are actually stepping down a slight league from Group One to Group Two company, mainly working on the assumption that the horse is still progressing.

"His form is actually working out and if you look at Buzzword, he won the German race but we finished nowhere and he was third at Ascot so we have to say that wasn't his form.

"His Irish Derby run wasn't that bad either, it was the German form (that looks bad) but it was a very funny race.

"I'll think about if he is a St Leger horse after the race."

However, it does not always pay to win the Great Voltigeur Stakes. Sir Michael Stoute's Harbinger finished a dismal last a year ago before becoming the best racehorse in the world until his career was cruelly ended by a gallops injury earlier this month.

Yet Stoute is confident that Harbinger's former stablemate Total Command will be suited by a drop in trip ahead of today's St Leger trial.

The three-year-old is regally bred, being by Sadler's Wells and out of Guineas winner Wince, and landed a Goodwood maiden over a mile-and-a-half in May.

He was then stepped markedly up in class and distance for the Queen's Vase over two miles at Royal Ascot; Total Command made an early bid for glory before fading to finish third behind Mikhail Glinka.

With the Voltigeur run over a mile-and-a-half, owner Prince Khalid Abdullah's racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe expects Total Command to run well ahead of Doncaster's Classic.

Another eyecatching entry is Rewilding who was third to Workforce in the Epsom Derby.

The mount of Frankie Dettori, the Godolphin racing operation decided to give the ex-French colt plenty of time to recover from his Epsom exertions.

"His run in the Derby was excellent. He was third and came from a long way back. He didn't really handle the track that well and I think the Knavesmire will suit him more," said Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford.

"He's an immature horse so we decided to give him time off. For Rewilding it's all about next year. We won't see him at his best until next season."