Alpha Delphini and Judicial on course for Battaash clash in the Nunthorpe

Tue 7 Aug 2018

By staff

Connections of Alpha Delphini and Judicial have not been scared off by Battaash and will take him on in the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York later this month.

Narrowly beaten last time on the Knavesmire in a Listed race, trainer Bryan Smart does not think there is much between the rest of the sprinting division – Battaash excepted.

Just like his half-brother Tangerine Trees, whom Smart trained to win the Prix de l’Abbaye, Alpha Delphini is seemingly getting quicker with age and has been beaten less than a length on all four starts this season.

“I think we’ll have a crack at the Nunthorpe,” said Smart.

“He likes it at York and there’s a hell of a lot of prize-money on offer.

“I know Battaash looked unbeatable at Goodwood, but he boiled over at York last year and you can never be afraid of one.

“Behind him at Goodwood, the rest were in a heap. We’ve beaten the second (Take Cover) already this year, so if we’d run there, we’d have been in that group.”

Judicial will head straight to Nunthorpe after sidestepping recent engagements in Ireland and Britain.

The Julie Camacho-trained sprinter has been in a rich vein of form this season, finishing second in the Palace House Stakes at Newmarket before striking gold in a conditions race at Beverley and the Group Three Coral Charge at Sandown.

He was ruled out of an intended appearance in last month’s Sapphire Stakes at the Curragh and did not take up his entry at Chester on Sunday, but connections report the six-year-old in rude health ahead of the Nunthorpe on August 24.

Dan Downie, racing manager for owners the Elite Racing Club, said: “Judicial is in good form and everyone is very happy with him.

“He hasn’t had a setback as such. His bloods just weren’t 100 per cent and we didn’t think it was sensible to take him to Ireland.

“He could have run at Chester, but we decided to miss that and go straight for the Nunthorpe, as he does tend to run well fresh.”

Judicial in winning action under Graham Lee at Beverley
Judicial in winning action under Graham Lee at Beverley

Judicial a best-priced 20-1 for the the Nunthorpe, with the Charlie Hills-trained Battaash the odds-on favourite with most bookmakers following his scintillating display in the King George Stakes at Goodwood last week.

Downie added: “Battaash is obviously going to be very hard to beat, but we feel our horse is going there in the form of his life.

“Take Cover and Muthmir finished second and third at Gooodwood and Judicial beat Take Cover at Beverley and Muthmir at Sandown, so he thoroughly deserves his place in the field.”

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