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Royal Lodge preview: Clive Cox looking forward to stepping Cobh up in grade

Fri 25 Sep 2020

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Clive Cox is encouraged by Cobh’s progress on and off the track as the improving juvenile moves up to Group company for the first time in the Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes (1.50pm) at Newmarket.

Cobh has twice run in Listed company so far, finishing second in the Pat Eddery Stakes at Ascot to Richard Hannon’s Chindit before taking Salisbury’s Stonehenge Stakes.

He takes a significant step up in class in Saturday’s Group Two, over a mile.

Watch how Cobh landed a Listed contest at Salisbury last time out

Cox said: “He was an impressive winner of the Stonehenge at Salisbury, clearly getting the mile well.

“He’s a big, scopey individual who has continued to physically develop with his progression on the race track.

“We’re really looking forward to him stepping up to Group Two level.”

Among the opposition is Ralph Beckett’s New Mandate, who heads to the Rowley Mile off the back of two successive wins.

The gelded son of New Bay shed his maiden tag at Sandown, before going on to win the Listed Flying Scotsman Stakes at Doncaster two weeks ago.

“Both New Mandate and the jockey (Frankie Dettori) were impressive at Doncaster to go through a tight gap and win the Flying Scotsman,” said Beckett.

“He was the only horse to come up that far rail and win all meeting.”

Unbeaten Acomb winner Gear Up is among the Royal Lodge challengers on Saturday

New Mandate is set to run over a mile for the first time, having so far been campaigned over seven furlongs, but Beckett has no doubts about the suitability of the trip.

“I’m really looking forward to the Royal Lodge, and the mile will be no problem,” he said.

“He is out of an Authorized mare and is by New Bay, so he should handle some juice in the ground.

“He was a nightmare early on – that is why we gelded him back in January. He is a good work horse, and that is why we took the jump into Listed class on a mark of 89 last time.”

Mark Johnston’s Acomb Stakes winner Gear Up is also in the line-up, having won his first two starts.

Aidan O’Brien is represented by Ontario, the only runner with existing Group Two form having been beaten a length when third in the Futurity Stakes at the Curragh last month.

Roger Charlton’s Pleasant Man makes up the field of five in what will be just his second racecourse appearance, after winning on his debut at Haydock at the start of this month.

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