Relive Workforce's brilliant Derby victory
Workforce will really need comeback - Stoute
WORKFORCE will "really need" his comeback run at Sandown on Thursday night, trainer Sir Michael Stoute has warned.
Stoute admitted to concerns over last year's Derby and Arc winner, who will be having his first run since October and his first over 1m2f in more than a year when he lines up in the Group 3 Piper Heidsieck Brigadier Gerard Stakes.
"I think he’s going to really need this race," he told At The Races. "Although he didn’t run in the Breeders’ Cup he did travel to Kentucky and we prepared him for the race, and then there was the journey back, so we decided we wouldn’t be in a rush with him this year.
"We’re pulling him back two furlongs as well. The main thing is to get his season started. He has worked pleasingly but with a big horse like this it’s hard to get him really tuned up first time. I’ll just be glad to get him back on a racecourse and it will be interesting to see how he performs."
Stoute said the conditions of the Brigadier Gerard were not ideal. "It’s a race I don’t particularly like because the Group 1 winners get a 7lb penalty, which is very tough."
But Stoute said he was pleased with Workforce's development over the winter. "He has done very well physically, as one would expect because he was a big, scopey horse last year who needed to fill out in certain areas."
Although he pointed to the drop back in trip, Stoute believes 1m2f is a possibility for Workforce in Group 1 races this year. "We’ve got him in the Eclipse and the Prince of Wales’s, but let’s see what happens at Sandown and then we’ll have to review it."
Only one horse - the Stoute-trained Notnowcato - has won the Brigadier Gerard after being sent off favourite in the last ten years.
The going at Sandown was described as good, good to firm in places on Wednesday, although any rain before Thursday's meeting is likely to change that description.
Clerk of the course Andrew Cooper said: “The course has been watered all round a couple of times since last Thursday’s meeting and it remains as it was last week - good, good to firm in places.
“We were told to expect no more than 1mm of rain but are now keeping a close eye on the weather – it wouldn’t take much to call it good all round.”
The Met Office on Wednesday forecast “scattered heavy, possibly thundery, showers” developing late morning, though more particularly further north than Sandown in London.