The field of five that will assemble for the Rose of Lancaster Stakes on Saturday will be the smallest since 2005, but that does not make the task of finding the winner any easier.
Both Jet Away and Ransom Note ran in the York Stakes a fortnight ago and on that occasion, both runners met with trouble in running. The former, trained by Sir Henry Cecil, finished in fourth place, whilst the latter, a Charlie Hills inmate, was fifth.
Jet Away was a little behind, but staying on, when hampered with about a furlong to go. He eventually recovered and rallied close home. The quickening conditions on Merseyside will suit him and he gives the impression that there is more improvement in him. If that is the case, this five year-old may prove too strong.
Cheekpieces will be applied to Ransom Note, who was short of room inside the final furlong in the aforementioned race at York. He still had every chance at that stage, but eventually finished a length behind Jet Away. All of his best form has come on a quicker surface too, but over a shorter trip. However, the use of a pacifier could bring about an improved effort.
Although Self Employed looks well out of his depth, Hunter’s Light and Gabrial, who complete the line-up, appear to have realistic claims.
Godolphin is responsible for Hunter’s Light, who has been slightly disappointing in the past. However, he put a below par effort in the Great Voltigeur Stakes behind him when racking up a double at the end of last season. Both of those races were listed contests and despite starting this year’s campaign only averagely (sixth at Chester in the Huxley Stakes on soft ground), his two efforts since have been encouraging. One of those included a close enough third to Carlton House in the Brigadier Gerard Stakes, on quick ground. With Silvestre De Sousa in flying form, he could be one to keep an eye on.
Gabrial, on the other hand, has all the form in the book. He finished a distant third behind the mighty Frankel in the Sussex Stakes last week, but didn’t have too hard a race. He also ran with credit in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot and previously won the Silver Bowl at Haydock on very fast ground indeed. His sire, Dark Angel, is yet to produce a winner over 9 furlongs or more so as this is a 10 furlong race, there is a slight concern. Yet, in each of his 1 mile races, he has looked as though a step-up in trip would suit. Trainer Richard Fahey is hopeful of a good run.
The Group 3 Talk To Victor Rose Of Lancaster Stakes is one of the highlights of the year at Haydock and is scheduled to get under away at 2.55pm.
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