Can the London Gold Cup produce another big star? Find out what the trainers say
Al Zubarah London Gold Cup Handicap | 1m2f | 3yo | ITV4/RUK
The London Gold Cup Handicap is a race with a rich tradition for producing multiple big handicap and Group-race winners in the coming months.
Four-time Group 1 hero Al Kazeem (2011) and dual Group 2 scorer Time Test (2015) are prime examples, while last year’s winner Defoe impressively landed the Group 2 Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket recently.
Defoe’s trainer, Roger Varian, saddles another lightly-raced three-year-old with an unfathomable amount of potential this year in the shape of Doncaster winner Masaarr, who seems sure to attract plenty of support.
“He picked up well when winning at Doncaster last time and his pedigree and run style suggest he’ll improve for the step up in trip,” Varian said.
“I’m looking forward to getting him back on better ground and he’s a progressive colt with a good profile for a race like this. I’m excited to run him.”
Chief ready to run the rule
William Jarvis is also looking forward to running his comfortable Chester scorer Chief Ironside – and it’s not difficult to see why.
Having only his third start in a 1m2f maiden that day, the son of Lawman bounded clear round the final turn and was well in command at the line.
An opening mark of 88 looks fair, and Jarvis said: “I’ve always liked this horse. He impressed with the way in which he won at Chester – there was no fluke about it.
“This is always a warm race but I'd give him a good each-way chance. I hope he’ll handle the ground.”
What they say
Clive Cox, trainer of Connect and He’s Amazing
It’s a step up in trip for Connect. His Listed-race win at Pontefract last season was on an easier surface, and he ran in the Greenham because of the ground. I’m looking forward to seeing how he fares over this distance. He’s Amazing won well at Newmarket after showing promise in maidens. He’s a laid-back type who should continue to progress.
Hugo Palmer, trainer of Dukhan
He's run two solid races at Newmarket this year. The handicapper has punished him and he will need a career-best performance. He’s in good form and Newbury should suit him. The cheekpieces are on to try to eke out that extra length or two he needs.
Charlie Johnston, assistant to Mark Johnston, trainer of Poet’s Prince and Communique
Poet’s Prince has enjoyed an unbelievable year already. We hoped the gelding operation would improve him but never dreamed it would be so dramatic. He remains on an upward curve after winning a warm race at Chelmsford comfortably and deserves to take his chance. Communique is very lightly raced. He’s a horse we expect to improve with distance and experience as the season goes on. It’s a big ask for him to break his maiden in a £70,000 handicap, but he should run well from the foot of the weights.
Andrew Balding, trainer of Master Of Wine
I’m a little concerned about the ground as it’s going to be quicker than it was at Epsom. That’s a question mark, but I do think he’s fairly treated and I’d be hopeful he could run well.
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