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Is Austrian Theory the answer for Mark Johnston or is it a Goodwood warm-up?

Mark Johnston: saddles Austrian Theory, whose best run has come on soft ground
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Tuesday: 2.45 Hamilton
Stay At Hampton By Hilton Almada Mile Handicap (For The Watson Memorial Cup) | 1m½f | 3yo+ | RTV

The fact Mark Johnston has saddled two winners and a second from the three runnings of this mile handicap means the early market could be underestimating the claims of Austrian Theory.

While the son of Awtaad has finished last on his previous three starts, there have been excuses.

The 1m2f stretched Austrian Theory in two Newmarket Listed races won by smart Godolphin pair, Nations Pride and Ottoman Fleet, while his first foray into handicap company at Nottingham last month came in a contest that has produced three subsequent scorers, including Royal Hunt Cup winner Dark Shift. 

The heavens are set to open at Hamilton and easing ground will help Austrian Theory because his best performance came on soft when third to Angel Bleu in last season's Group 2 Vintage Stakes.

However, it's worth questioning whether this may be a warm-up for the Golden Mile at Glorious Goodwood, a race Johnston always targets.

Ghaly is an opposable market leader on his first run for 662 days and Fame And Acclaim could be the answer providing enough rain arrives. 

The tough and consistent five-year-old has climbed only 1lb in the ratings for his Haydock success 19 days ago and remains handicapped to go well.

This race should be run at a decent clip with Austrian Theory, Cockalorum and Sip And Smile providing recent front-running form and an honest gallop will suit.
Race analysis by Robbie Wilders

What they say

Dianne Sayer, trainer of Redarna
We're limited to where we can go with him and this seems a good fit. He likes an uphill finish and goes on any ground, but any rain would help him. He's fit and ready to go and we'll take our chance.

Roger Fell, trainer of Cockalorum
We're hoping for rain for him. He'll go forward and make it a good gallop and it could play into his hands. He ran a nice race last time and, although the trip might be on the short side, it looks a good race for him and the prize-money is good as well.

Les Eyre, trainer of Fame And Acclaim
He would have a hell of a chance, although he'll only run if there's enough rain to make it good, good to soft in places, I'd have thought. It's a long way to go to take him out, but there's plenty of rain forecast. The softer ground was key to him winning at Haydock last time.

Saeed bin Suroor, trainer of Ghaly
He's doing good. He had a break, but is back now and is well. Three days ago he did his final piece of work and went nicely. He's always tried and is in the right race at the right track, so we'll see how he does. I think good ground will be fine for him.

John Quinn, trainer of Empirestateofmind
He's been running well and we expect him to run well again. He's a well-balanced horse, so he should be fine on the track, and it should be nice ground once the rain arrives.

George Boughey, trainer of Sip And Smile
He's in good form and has been consistent of late, and the stiff nature of the track will suit him well. He doesn't want rattling fast ground, but there's a bit of rain about and he should run well.
Reporting by Andrew Dietz


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It's worth questioning whether this may be a warm-up for the Golden Mile at Glorious Goodwood, a race Johnston always targets
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