Win, lose or draw within the Sky Wager Ebor Handicap at York on Saturday, Ed Dunlop has confirmed that one-time Derby hope John Leeper will race once more subsequent season.
The four-year-old received two of his first three profession begins and was an 8/1 probability for final yr’s Epsom Traditional, however completed down the sector behind Adayar.
Whereas he has did not win in 9 subsequent begins, the Newmarket handler has not misplaced religion on this son of Frankel, who is known as after his late father, Traditional-winning coach John Leeper Dunlop.
Although admitting he has been “irritating”, Dunlop is adamant his staying-on run behind subsequent Group One scorer Insurgent’s Romance within the mile-and-a-half Queen’s Plate at Goodwood was the perfect prep for the richest handicap in Europe.
John Leeper, who will likely be ridden by Adam Kirby, will shoulder 9st 9lb in a race the place three of the final 4 winners efficiently carried over 9st 5lb to victory.
Dunlop mentioned: “Goodwood was very a lot a prep race. It was an insufficient journey and so they went slowly and quickened. He is a large horse and we needed to present him a run in preparation for the Ebor.
“All techniques have been pointed to this for some time. He’s a little bit of a frustration, however he’s nonetheless very proficient and he’s in excellent type, and we have been happy together with his final piece of labor.
“Contact wooden, he’ll go effectively, however it is extremely aggressive and there are a variety of runners. We’d like some luck. The plan is for him to race on subsequent yr, although.”
Three of the highest 5 out there hail from Eire, with Paddy Twomey’s Earl Of Tyrone heading most lists following a clear-cut victory in an prolonged mile-and-a-half Listed race at Limerick. That type was franked when the runner-up scored in a Group Three subsequent time.
The Joseph O’Brien-trained Okita Soushi, who was third within the Copper Horse Stakes at Royal Ascot, is one other main contender regardless of a large attract stall 22, together with Jessica Harrington’s Ever Current, who has a extra beneficial place in six.
The six-year-old made a superb impression when taking a precious big-field handicap at Leopardstown in September, and when making a comeback after 314 days on the sidelines in defeat at Down Royal final month.
Harrington mentioned: “This race has been the plan for a very long time and we hope it would go in keeping with plan. We have been completely happy sufficient together with his comeback run at Down Royal. He’s in good type and that run could have blown any cobwebs away.”
The house problem is led by William Haggas’ pair of Gaassee and Candleford. The previous tries the journey for the primary time, whereas Tom Marquand sticks with the latter, who scored within the Duke of Edinburgh on the Royal assembly.
Frankie Dettori groups up with the John and Thady Gosden-trained Trawlerman within the Godolphin blue. The addition of a hood helped him win over an identical distance at Goodwood and whereas he retains the headgear, connections are aware of a clumsy draw.
Thady Gosden mentioned: “He ran at Goodwood with the hood on final time and he acquired a pleasant journey from Benoit (De La Sayette). He received effectively sufficient. His two begins in between that and his win initially of the yr didn’t fairly go in keeping with plan and he’s a horse who clearly stays the journey. He simply over-travelled a bit, therefore the hood, which helped him settle.
“He has been effectively since and clearly we’re drawn 20, which isn’t excellent. However you possibly can solely play the hand you might be dealt and we are going to provide you with a plan.”
Jim Goldie is heading to the Knavesmire in assured temper with Euchen Glen, who’s berthed in stall two. Paul Mulrennan rides the hard-knocking handicapper, who bids to change into the primary nine-year-old to land the prize since Sea Pigeon in 1979.
Goldie mentioned: “He has been a constant horse. Hopefully he will likely be very constant on Saturday. It’s an attention-grabbing race with a variety of attention-grabbing horses in it. He has been in fairly good type and it’s a observe he has carried out effectively at earlier than, so we’re hopeful.”
Richard Hughes might by no means have received the race as a jockey, but can be assured of bagging the prize as a coach, ought to it rain closely at York prior to now and three.35pm on Saturday. He saddles Calling The Wind, who was positioned in each the Cesarewitch and the November Handicap final yr and was a good third to Coltrane within the Esher Stakes at Sandown on his earlier run.
“You had higher do a rain dance – I would like rain,” mentioned Hughes. “I actually do. If we get it, we’ll be going, but when we do not we in all probability will not run. However he’s in nice type and if it went comfortable, he would have an enormous probability. Whether it is good to agency, I will not run.”