Luke Morris: partnered Celestial Path at Haydock last monthPICTURE: Steve Dennis
Morris seeks first British Group 1 with Celestial
LUKE MORRIS, one of Britain's busiest jockeys, hopes to win a first domestic Group 1 on Saturday when teaming up with Celestial Path in the Racing Post Trophy.
The Sir Mark Prescott-trained colt was on Monday made the general 5-1 third favourite for the final top-flight race of the British Flat season, behind Elm Park and Royal Navy Ship, one of half a dozen Aidan O'Brien-trained entries remaining in the Doncaster showpiece.
Celestial Path has won both his starts to date, his maiden victory at York being followed by a smooth four-length call over Medrano in a Listed race at Haydock. Both wins came on decent ground, and connections will be hoping the going does not deteriorate too much as the week wears on.
Morris, who partnered Celestial Path at Haydock last month, said at Windsor on Monday after riding his 139th winner of the year from 1,200-plus rides: "Celestial Path has won both of his races easily and has been working well in preparation for Saturday."
Morris added: "He won on good ground at Haydock and as long as it is no worse than good to soft I think he will be running."
Celestial Path would be Prescott's first runner in the Group 1 two-year-old feature that has proved a strong guide to the Classics in recent years. Motivator, Authorized, Camelot and this season's St Leger winner, and Derby second, Kingston Hill have all been recent additions to the roll of honour.
Restorer, runner-up in the Autumn Stakes, was added to the field on Monday at a cost of £17,500.
The going at Doncaster on Monday was good, good to soft in places, but rain was forecast.
Clerk of the course Rod Duncan reported: "We're due significant rain tonight. More rain is possible Friday but there is some disagreement as to how much we will get."
Elm Park is general 9-4 market leader, with Royal Navy Ship around 7-2.
David Williams of Ladbrokes said: "In recent years this race has seen some major gambles develop in the days building up to the race. Whether or not there's a colt with a similar profile lurking outside of the front two in our market remains to be seen."
Coral's David Stevens added: "Elm Park has progressed from his maiden win to a Listed and then Group 2 success, so Saturday's race looks the obvious step for a horse already just 20-1 for next year's Investec Derby, with Royal Navy Ship looking the pick of the Aidan O'Brien-trained possibles."