By Geoffrey Riddle
Limato is one of 11 runners in the Godolphin Stud And Stable Staff Awards Challenge Stakes at Newmarket.
Having missed several engagements recently due to soft ground, the current going at Headquarters is described as good. Only a small amount of rainfall is forecast before the race.
Limato has been unfortunate this season as two of his four starts, when tenth at Meydan in March and fourth in the Group 2 Lennox Stakes at Goodwood on 1st August, have been on rain-softened ground.
He has been absent since Glorious Goodwood and skipped a defence of his Prix de La Foret crown at Chantilly ten days ago, owing to soft ground.
Limato will miss having to shoulder his Group One penalty and will be ridden by Harry Bentley.
“It has been infuriating to have a horse of Limato’s calibre and not be able to do anything with him," Candy said._Limato is officially the second highest-rated horse in the field on 115 behind Massaat on 116 _(PA)
"I am very happy with his condition at the moment and looking forward to running him on Friday.
“His defeat in the Lennox Stakes was 80 per cent down to the ground, which was riding soft. We talked ourselves into running him that day when we shouldn’t have.”
“At least it’s been no problem keeping a lid on him at home without a race, as he is a very free worker and keeps himself pretty fit.”
Limato has never performed well when racing out of Europe. Although the Breeders' Cup Mile around the tight turns of Del Mar would be a perfect opportunity to try once again the theory he can race at the top table over a mile, and on likley decent ground, Candy revealed this will be Limato's campaign swansong.
“This seven furlong trip should be fine – I think he is capable of winning Group races at anything between six furlongs and a mile – and I don’t see any problem with him handling the Rowley Mile as he is very light on his feet," he added.
“This is likely to be his final start of the season and, although we are toying with the idea of trying him over a mile again next year, we will go wherever the ground is right. With a horse like him who is so governed by the ground it is hard to make definite plans.”
Another trainer pleased with the dry autumn is Mick Halford who has endured a frustrating season with Rehana, winner of the Athasi Stakes in May.
"Rehana is in very good form and will go to Newmarket," he told his website.
"As she has a preference for fast ground it has been difficult to place her throughout the year, but the ground at Newmarket is currently good with a good forecast."
Joining her from Ireland is the veteran Gordon Lord Byron, Aidan O'Brien's Cougar Mountain and Johnny Murtagh's True Valour.
Owen Burrows' Massaat runs in this Group Two rather than in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on Champions Day with Andrew Balding chasing another big prize with Absolutely So.
Dutch Connection, Gifted Master, Mix And Mingle and Dabyah complete the field.
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