Great War set to take chance in Portland
Ballydoyle colt up in trip to six furlongs in bid to redeem reputation after Ascot flop
Aidan O’Brien: Ballydoyle handler’s Great War could finish only fifth to Baitha Alga when sent off 5 to 6 favourite in the Norfolk Stakes at Ascot. Photograph: Steve Parsons/PA
The Great War is among 12 declarations as he attempts to redeem his reputation in the Portland Place Properties July Stakes at Newmarket tomorrow.
Aidan O’Brien’s colt had won his first two races but was a big disappointment in the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot where he was only fifth to Baitha Alga when sent off the 5 to 6 favourite.
Connections will be hoping the step up to six furlongs will bring about a revival.
Baitha Alga is not taking up the engagement but his trainer Richard Hannon still has two decent chances in Dougal and Ivawood.
David Brown’s Mind Of Madness, runner-up in the Norfolk, will try to go one better in this Group Two contest.
Ustinov looked a useful colt in the making when scoring at Nottingham while Belardo, George Bowen and Muhaarar have all won their only start.
Angelic Lord and Lightning Stride make up the dozen runners.
Noozhoh Canarias familiarised himself with the setting of his big challenge this Saturday when completing a gallop on the Newmarket July Course yesterday morning.
Enrique Leon’s colt was the first Spanish runner in a British Classic when he ran on the Rowley Mile in the 2000 Guineas, only to finish sixth behind Kingman. Noozhoh Canarias drops back in trip to six furlongs for the Darley July Cup and looked in fine fettle when stretching clear of his lead horse.
The ground is good to firm, but with some rain forecast.
“I was very happy with the ground and I hope it stays like that on Saturday,” said Leon. “The Darley July Cup is always a very competitive race but he deserves to be there and the stiff six furlongs will suit him.”
The Kevin Ryan-trained Hot Streak is likely to take his chance if conditions are suitable. The three-year-old has shown top-class form at five furlongs against talented and seasoned sprinters this term, winning the Temple Stakes and finishing a close third in the Palace House and King’s Stand Stakes.
He made a successful racecourse debut over the July Cup trip of six furlongs as a juvenile and was only beaten half-a-length by stablemate Astaire in the Group One Middle Park Stakes on his final start of 2013.
Connections are keen to step him back up to the longer distance at some stage as long as the ground is suitable.
“The July Cup is the target for Hot Streak if the ground is good,” said David Redvers, racing manager to owners Qatar Racing. “We are obviously stepping him back up to six. We know he’s got plenty of speed, so we are strongly considering it. There is no firm decision made as yet.
“He will run over six furlongs this season . . . the July Cup is a definite possibility. We’ll leave the decision as late as we can.”
Astaire is also in contention for Saturday’s feature event and Ryan hopes to be double-handed. The Intense Focus colt has enjoyed returning to six furlongs, finishing second in the Duke Of York and sixth in the Diamond Jubilee.
“The intention is to run both of them,” said Ryan. “It would be nice if it was really good ground.”