Manifest: an eight-length winner in the Yorkshire Cup last monthPICTURE: Mark Cranham
Timely boost for Cecil's Gold Cup hope Manifest
HENRY CECIL enjoyed the perfect boost for the chances of Manifest in the Gold Cup on Thursday when stablemate Timepiece gave him a 72nd winner at Royal Ascot with victory in the Sandringham Handicap on Wednesday.
Cecil has won the Gold Cup on five occasions, although not since 1987 when Paean triumphed under Steve Cauthen.
In Manifest, the veteran trainer has the long-time Gold Cup favourite since Khalid Abdullah's four-year-old cruised to an eight-length win in the Emirates Airline Yorkshire Cup in May.
Manifest will be ridden by Tom Queally, who is also on a high after steering Timepiece to victory.
"Manifest got jarred up at York. The Prince has never won the Gold Cup, but this horse may be the one to change that," said Cecil.
"I feel he will stay but he would like a bit of give in the ground. They are going to water. I don't want it to change the going but I would like no jar."
Opponents to Manifest include Age Of Aquarius, representing trainer Aidan O'Brien, who trained Yeats to a record four Gold Cup wins between 2006 and 2009.
Saeed Bin Suroor: four-time winnerPICTURE: Edward Whitaker
Another trainer to have won the race four times, Saeed Bin Suroor, saddles last year's St Leger runner-up Kite Wood and Cesarewitch winner Darley Sun.
"Kite Wood won a Group 2 over a mile and seven furlongs in France and he has been in good form since that race," said Bin Suroor.
"He handled that distance well and Ithink he will stay the Gold Cup trip as long as he settles.
"Ideally, he would like some cut underfoot but the ground at Royal Ascot on Tuesday was fine and he will be okay provided the going is good and safe. It looks an open renewal and we are looking to see him go close."
Bin Suroor added: "Darley Sun also ran well on his seasonal return in one of the best trials for the Gold Cup.
"He's doing very well in his work and I think this is the right race for him - he will get the distance and he will have no problem with a faster surface."