Sir Dancealot aiming to end quiet spell for Elsworth team with Lennox hat-trick

Mon 27 Jul 2020

David Elsworth is more hopeful than confident about the chances of Sir Dancealot claiming a third successive victory in the Qatar Lennox Stakes at Goodwood on Tuesday.

The six-year-old was a short-head winner of the seven-furlong Group Two in 2018 – and managed to successfully defend his crown 12 months ago to get his veteran trainer off the cold list, having not saddled a winner since Dandhu won the Fred Darling at Newbury on April 13.

Elsworth has sent out just two winners from his Newmarket base in 2020 so far, with Sir Dancealot finishing fourth in the Criterion Stakes at Newmarket and seventh in the July Cup, although both runs were not devoid of promise.

Elsworth said: “Our horses don’t seem to be running great at the moment, so confidence is pretty low. Having said that, I think Sir Dancealot’s two runs this year have been pretty encouraging.

The Verdict: watch what our experts made of Sir Dancealot's second Lennox Stakes triumph

“I think with a clear run he would have been second to Limato on his first run of the year, when he wasn’t fully tuned up, and I thought he ran a good race to be beaten less than five lengths in the July Cup the other day.

“The ground looks like it will be softer than we’d like, but he obviously acts well at Goodwood and he is in good shape.”

Sir Dancealot is one of 13 runners declared, with the hat-trick seeking Space Blues heading the betting for Charlie Appleby, who also saddles Glorious Journey and D’bai.

Paul and Oliver Cole are represented by Duke Of Hazzard, who is unbeaten in three previous visits to Goodwood and finished third in the Summer Mile at Ascot earlier in the month.

Oliver Cole said: “He has always had plenty of speed this horse, so I don’t think coming back to seven furlongs will be a problem. The mile race (Sussex Stakes) looks very hot on Wednesday, so this looked the obvious race for him.

“He did run well in the Summer Mile last time, but from what I’m seeing on the gallops, he’s in better form now than he was going into the Summer Mile.

“I think he’s in the best form he’s been in all year and I hope he’s going back to Goodwood with a massive chance.”

Another major player is John Quinn’s Safe Voyage, who handles cut in the ground and was last seen landing the Listed Surrey Stakes at Epsom on Derby day.

“We’re very happy with him and they’re calling the ground good, good to soft in places at the moment, which will suit him,” said Quinn. "He is in very good form and we’re very hopeful he’ll run a big race.”


Royal Ascot hero Battleground puts his tall reputation on the line in the Veuve Clicquot Vintage Stakes at Goodwood on Tuesday.

As well as being a son of American speedster War Front, Aidan O’Brien’s youngster is the first foal out of the yard’s brilliant racemare Found – best known for winning the 2016 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

Despite finishing a never-nearer fifth on his racecourse debut at Naas in early June, Battleground was a well-supported favourite for the Chesham Stakes 10 days later – and that confidence was justified with an emphatic victory.

O’Brien said: “He’s a big, powerful horse with a lovely mind. He’s very uncomplicated and mentally very easy – he hasn’t shown any issues yet, either mentally or physically.

“This will be another step in his life. Goodwood is obviously an unusual track, so hopefully he’ll cope with it – and if he doesn’t, hopefully he’ll learn from it.

“Found was an unbelievable mare – so tough it was incredible. She was one filly who would lay her whole soul out for you every day and always the thing with her was not to let her do too much.

“When she won the Arc, it was a day none of us will ever forget.”

Battleground will be a warm order to dispatch of nine rivals at Group Two level on the Sussex Downs, with the standard arguably set by the Tom Dascombe-trained Devious Company.

Following successive wins at Haydock in June, the Fast Company colt went in search of his hat-trick in the Superlative Stakes at Newmarket – and was far from disgraced in finishing a clear second to the exciting Master Of The Seas.

Dascombe said: “He’s been a model of consistency really. He’s won his maiden, he’s won his novice giving weight away and I thought he ran really well in the Superlative – finishing second to what is obviously a very good horse.

“He beat a lot of other good horses that day and I think Goodwood should be fine for him. He has a bit of experience now, having had the three runs. I wouldn’t want to see too much rain, but I’m pretty confident he’d handle most ground.

“On distances, weights and measures I think we might have the beating of the favourite on form, but obviously Aidan O’Brien’s horses do tend to improve a lot.

“I think we go there with a good, solid chance and if the O’Brien horse is better than us then he’ll beat us – it’s as simple as that.”

Other contenders include Roger Varian’s Dark Lion, the Mark Johnston-trained pair of King Zain and Thunder Of Niagra and Gorytus from Richard Fahey’s yard.

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