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Newmarket support races: Mullins seeking Cesarewitch hat-trick with sole runner

Sat 10 Oct 2020

Great White Shark bids to provide Willie Mullins with a third straight victory in the Together For Racing International Cesarewitch at Newmarket on Saturday.

Ireland’s perennial champion jumps trainer broke his duck in the prestigious staying handicap with Low Sun in 2018, and doubled his tally 12 months ago with Stratum.

Great White Shark finished only 10th in last year’s renewal, but returns to the Rowley Mile in excellent form, having landed a valuable handicap hurdle at the Galway Festival on her latest appearance.

Four days earlier, the Malcolm Denmark-owned mare had finished seventh on the Flat, beaten little over two lengths by the remarkable Princess Zoe, who last weekend grabbed Group One glory in Paris for Mullins’ brother, Tony.

Great White Shark was last seen winning at Galway

Mullins said: “I’m very pleased with her heading over there.

“She was good over hurdles the last day and her run behind Princess Zoe doesn’t look too bad now, does it?

“She stays well and handles soft ground, so that shouldn’t be any problem to her.”

Great White Shark is joined at the head of the market by Andrew Balding’s three-year-old Coltrane, the David Pipe-trained Leoncavallo and Not So Sleepy from Hughie Morrison’s yard.

Coltrane has had this two-mile-two-furlong contest as his primary target ever since completing a hat-trick for the season in the Melrose Handicap at York in August.

Balding, who also saddles Diocletian and Cleonte, said: “The weight-for-age allowance for three-year-olds is obviously attractive for Coltrane and he won the Melrose well.

“This looked the most logical target after York. It’s obviously a tough race and he has a wide draw (34), I don’t know how that will play out, but the horse is in good form.

“Cleonte needed his comeback run after nearly a year off last month and seems in good form. Diocletian has solid handicap form and at his best would also have each-way claims.”

High-class dual-purpose performer Not So Sleepy carries a 4lb penalty for winning on his return to action at Pontefract last month – his first start since being pulled up in the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

Not So Sleepy warmed up in style for this race at Pontefract

“We were very happy with his comeback run at Pontefract. We’ve just kept him ticking over since then and we are very much looking forward to the race,” said Morrison.

“He ran a very good race to finish fourth in it last year. He’ll have to raise his game to better that on Saturday, but he had a break during the summer, so he’s a fresh horse and we’re ever hopeful.

“It’s a long way – two miles and two furlongs. Fingers crossed for a bit of a luck.”

Other contenders in a huge field include William Muir’s Just Hubert, Mark Johnston’s pair of Mondain and Summer Moon and Rock Eagle from Ralph Beckett’s yard.

Kyprios is expected to be suited by the step up in trip in the Godolphin Flying Start Zetland Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday.

Owned in a partnership by Moyglare Stud, John Magnier and Michael Tabor, the Galileo colt is out of the prolific mare Polished Gem.

She has already produced the likes of Free Eagle, Custom Cut and Sapphire, while Search For A Song, who won her second Irish Leger recently, is a full-sister to Kyprios.

Having won on his debut over a mile at Galway, Aidan O’Brien has no stamina doubts over a mile and a quarter.

“He seems to have come out of his first race well, he was very green the first day and we’ve been happy with him since,” said O’Brien.

“We always thought he would get much further than a mile, so the step up in trip shouldn’t worry him.

“We have another colt in the yard in which Moyglare are involved (Yankee Stadium), just those two.”

Ralph Beckett’s Fabilis and Martyn Meade’s Lone Eagle arrive with similar credentials having won their last two, while Andrew Balding’s Recovery Run has yet to finish out of the first two in five starts.

“It’s a big step up in class from a handicap to a Group Three, but I think the extra couple of furlongs will help him and obviously he’s proven on slow ground, so that’s a help,” said Balding.

There will be plenty of attention on Sir Michael Stoute’s Highest Ground in the Darley Stakes.

Mentioned in some quarters earlier in the season as a Derby horse, especially after he won on his reappearance at Haydock, Stoute took the patient route and went for the Dante at York, which was run after the Classic this term.

He was worn down close home by Mark Johnston’s Thunderous and has been given plenty of time – 93 days – to get over those exertions.

Alan Cooper, racing manager for Highest Ground’s owners the Niarchos family, said: “He’s been off since the Dante. There’s been no major issue, he just needed a bit of time.

“He’s in fine fettle. It looks a very competitive race, so hopefully he’ll run well.

“I would imagine this will be his final run of the year, but we haven’t really discussed it. We’ll see how he performs this weekend and make a plan afterwards.”

Saeed bin Suroor’s Dream Castle, the Roger Teal-trained Kenzai Warrior and John Gosden’s Darain are among the 13 runners.

The other Group Three on the card is the Emirates Autumn Stakes in which O’Brien runs Van Gogh, an American Pharoah colt who broke his maiden at the fifth time of asking recently, but had finished second in a Group Two on Irish Champions Weekend.

“We think he should benefit from getting his head in front, he’s a horse that is maturing and improving every month,” said O’Brien.

“We’re looking forward to seeing him run again.”

Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby runs two – William Buick’s mount One Ruler and the James Doyle-ridden Dhahbi, a half-brother to Golden Horn who cost 3.1 million guineas.

“One Ruler put up a solid performance at Doncaster, when he was slightly unlucky, and we feel that the step up to a mile will see further improvement,” Appleby told www.godolphin.com.

“Dhahabi also ran to a nice level at Newbury and has been crying out for a step up in distance. We are hoping that both colts can be very competitive at this level.”

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