Angel looks to take rich prize en route to Royal Ascot
Merriebelle Stable Pavilion Stakes | Group 3 | | 6f | 3yo | RUK
Clive Cox bids for his second victory in the race since the turn of the decade, having landed the rich midweek prize with Perfect Tribute in 2011. This time he is represented by unexposed Mill Reef Stakes winner Harry Angel.
A winner of the Newbury Group 2 prize by an impressive two and a half lengths on only his second career start, he returns from 228 days off and bids to land this contest before taking up his entry in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot.
Harry Angel will have to overturn the Charlie Appleby-trained Blue Point, who also struck at Group 2 level last season when landing the Gimcrack Stakes under today's rider William Buick.
John Gosden's son of Frankel, Seven Heavens, is the only runner to bring winning course form into the contest, having landed a 6f maiden impressively on debut last season.
That form has been boosted several times with the second, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth scoring since.
Keep it in the family
Richard Hannon snr landed this race in both 2012 (Gusto) and 2013 (Ninjago) and his son Richards bids to build on the family success with the 105-rated Legendary Lunch. However, he will have to reverse the form of his last run when beaten seven lengths by the reopposing Harry Angel.
Against the grain
This race has been dominated by colts and geldings in recent seasons and has been won only once by a filly since 2007. They are represented by the Andrew Balding-trained Rosie Briar, who is on a hat-trick having won a Haydock maiden and a Doncaster Listed contest last season.
What they say
Clive Cox, trainer of Harry's Angel and Tis Marvellous
It'll be tough for Harry with a 4lb penalty, but there are limited targets. We're working back from the Commonwealth Cup and there's also the Sandy Lane at Haydock. I'm thrilled he's developed into a top-class performer and I'm really excited about him. Tis Marvellous has wintered very well and has a wonderful temperament. Both he and Harry Angel are rated 110 and it's a joy to have two horses of that calibre. It's shame they'll have to clash, but I suppose it's better to have two shots rather than one.
Charlie Appleby, trainer of Blue Point
I'm delighted with Blue Point, who wintered well in Dubai. He's done all I've asked of him to date and I've been pleased with his preparation. He showed a lot of natural speed as a two-year-old and this race is a good starting point before hopefully going onto the Commonwealth Cup.
Simon Crisford, trainer of Mokarris
He's fit and well and we're looking forward to see his comeback race.
William Haggas, trainer of Mubtasim
It's a very strong race and he's got to find some improvement. However, I'm pleased with his physical condition and we'll see how he goes.
Mark Johnston, trainer of Yalta
The form of his Goodwood win seemed to be rock-solid and was stamped all the way through the year, but I've absolutely no explanation why he ran so badly on his next three starts. We think he needs a very sound surface.
Andrew Balding, trainer of Rosie Briar
She won a Listed race at the end of last year and improved for each of her starts. She's been working nicely at home but it looks a strong race. There are limited options at this time of year, but I hope she runs well.