Stoute out to make it magical eight with 'grand' Midterm
Dubai Duty Free Finest Surprise Stakes (registered as the John Porter Stakes) |Group 3| 1m4f | 4yo+ | ITV1/RUK
This race is better known as the John Porter but you could be forgiven for calling it the Sir Michael Stoute given the master trainer's fine record in it.
He has won it seven times, notably with Harbinger, who was successful in 2010 and unbeaten in three subsequent runs in the Ormonde, Hardwicke and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
Stoute now relies on Midterm, a beautifully bred son of Galileo off the famed Juddmonte production line who was talked of as a Derby horse at this time last year.
Half a chance for Quarterback
Victory in a Swedish Group 3 in September means Quarterback concedes weight all round, including to some higher-rated rivals.
Second Step, who used to be with Luca Cumani, makes his debut for Roger Charlton, but at least jockey Jamie Spencer will be familiar with the six-year-old having ridden him five times.
What they say
Ralph Beckett, trainer of Chemical Charge
He's come out of his win at Doncaster in good shape and it was always the plan to use that as a prep for this race. Hopefully he can put his best foot forward.
Hugo Palmer, trainer of Crimean Tatar
I can't help but feel that if we never win the Derby, this might have been the horse who got away. He fractured a knee at two and took a long time to get to a racecourse, then pulled a muscle in his shoulder after hacking up in his maiden and missed his chance in the St Leger. I do like him. He's a very lazy horse, shows little at home, saves it all for the track. After this race the dream is the Hardwicke, King George and Arc. That's the ultimate dream and we'll have to tailor alternative dreams depending on what happens here. Perhaps he'll be a Cup horse instead.
Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to Khalid Abdullah, owner-breeder of Midterm
He's grand. He wintered well and has enjoyed a straightforward preparation for this. We think a mile and a half looks to be his best trip, although he was far from disgraced behind Almanzor in the Champion Stakes after an interrupted season. He fits a good Sir Michael Stoute profile going forward. Newbury looks a nice starting point and hopefully he has a clear run this year.
John Gosden, trainer of Muntahaa
He needed his first run of the year at Doncaster the other day and has improved from it. We've left the hood off this time. He should run a nice race, although it looks competitive.