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Eqtidaar 'has to be a player' after getting a feel of the July Cup stage

Eqtidaar takes in the sights of the July course on Tuesday morning
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Royal Ascot winner Eqtidaar had a feel of his latest big-race environment when breezing on the July course on Tuesday morning in preparation for Saturday's Group 1 Darley July Cup.

The Commonwealth Cup hero, a general 6-1 third favourite for the all-aged speed test, cantered five furlongs under ex-jockey Ted Durcan, who reported that Sir Michael Stoute's hope "has to be a player" in the showpiece.

Hamdan Al Maktoum's colt will be bidding to extend the good run of three-year-olds in the six-furlong contest, including the same owner's Muhaarar (2015) and Harry Angel 12 months ago.

Eqtidaar looked to be on an upward curve when beating Sands Of Mali and Emblazoned at Ascot with the type of performance he had long threatened.

The son of Invincible Spirit looked to have lost nothing in condition since the royal meeting when taking a turn in the paddock before enjoying a gentle breeze out of the dip.

Durcan said: "That was little more than a leg stretch for Eqtidaar but he's in super order and handled the undulations fine. The great thing about him is he has a great mind and was taking everything in. Hopefully that will put him spot on for Saturday and he has to be a player."

Stoute, who has won the July Cup three times, most recently with Ajdal in 1987, was represented by his assistant James Horton, who said: "Eqtidaar's weight has been very good since Ascot and he's been training well. He's every reason to turn up here on Saturday with a good shout." 

Durcan added: "I'm over the moon with the ground, which is on the good side of good to firm, and [clerk of the course] Michael Prosser and his team can be proud of it."

Prosser said: "We've had a shower this morning which was not forecast but it resulted in little more than a heavy dew. We put 12mm on the whole of the course on Monday but will sit tight today.

"We'll put some more on tomorrow when we can assess the forecasts but the temperatures are not set to be as high over the next few days. They are forecast to rise again at the weekend."


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That was little more than a leg stretch but he's in super order and handled the undulations fine
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