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Temple Stakes runner-by-runner guide: Gavin Larena seeking Glory at Haydock

Fri 26 May 2017

Oliver Brett sifts through the runners and riders in the Armstrong Aggregates Temple Stakes at Haydock on Saturday and is keen on the chances of the mount of the recently-arrived South African jockey Gavin Larena. 

By Oliver Brett

1. QUIET REFLECTION:

Trainer: Karl Burke

General odds: 9-2

Put yourself in Dougie Costello's shoes for a second. He rode this filly to success at the highest level last summer but, under circumstances that have not been fully explained, his services are no longer required.

Quiet Reflection, the winner of this race on good ground last year, has to give weight away all round and must overcome a 224-day absence. Trainer not in the best of form, so there are a few negatives but she's a very talented sprinter. Martin Harley takes over from Costello and she's well drawn (stall 10 of 12).

2. ALPHA DELPHINI:

Trainer: Bryan Smart

General odds: 20-1

Lightly raced for a six-year-old, this gelding showed the best form of his career when running up a hat-trick last summer. 

That sequence practically forced him into Pattern company and he was only beaten a short head in a Newbury Group 3 last September.

Now rated 110, he officially doesn't have an awful lot extra to find, but must improve from his seasonal bow when eighth in the Palace House.

3. COTAI GLORY

Trainer: Charles Hills

General odds: 10-1

Does not win a huge volume of races, but has some tremendous pieces of form, such as when narrowly beaten in last summer's King's Stand Stakes.

Scored for the first time at Group level when seeing off the challenge of  Alpha Delphini and at his very best could lay down a serious challenge. Has the services of Gavin Lerena on Saturday, the highly regarded South African jockey's first big ride since beginning his spell in the UK. Drawn widest of all, a big plus.

4. ENCORE D'OR:

Trainer: Robert Cowell (won the 2013 Temple Stakes with Kingsgate Native)

General odds: 33-1

Robert Cowell is one of the very best at getting the most out of his sprinters and for that fact alone it might be worth paying some extra attention to a horse whose bare form suggests he might have a bit to find in this company.

Tends to run on the all-weather (only one of last 10 runs on turf) and only has one placed effort in seven attempts on grass. General profile suggests this five-year-old has not peaked yet so you never know.

5. FINAL VENTURE:

Trainer: Paul Midgley

General odds: 28-1

This five-year-old gelding made a highly successful foray to Meydan at the start of the year, where he won two handicaps before being far from disgraced in the Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint and then the Al Quoz Trophy.

Piloted by Pat Dobbs in Dubai, he will have the services of a man riding with lots of confidence at present, Oisin Murphy. Won four handicaps for previous trainer, the late Alan Swinbank, last summer and deserves a shot at something like this, but realistically has places aspirations at best.

6. GOLDREAM:

Trainer: Robert Cowell (won the 2013 Temple Stakes with Kingsgate Native)

General odds: 10-1

Won both the King's Stand Stakes and the Prix de l'Abbaye in a spectacularly successful 2015 but endured a barren spell in 2016 (finishing outside the top two seven times).

Now eight, so the suspicion would have to be that his best days are behind him but if everything were to fall into place on Saturday he could lay down a challenge. Has won big races from off the pace and from the front so flexible tactically and is drawn fairly wide which should help.

7. KACHY:

Trainer: Tom Dascombe

General odds: 8-1

Was a very good juvenile in 2015 and continued to make strides last year, such as when coming second behind Quiet Reflection in the Commonwealth Cup.

Having struggled to finish off his races since that Ascot defeat, Kachy was the subject of a change of tactics from Richard Kingscote last time out when given a hold-up ride to finish fourth behind the excellent Marsha in a red-hot renewal of the Palace House Stakes. Will surely be a big threat if things fall his way.

8. TAKE COVER:

Trainer: David Griffiths

General odds: 12-1 

The dual Qatar King George Stakes winner is one of only two horses in this race not to have had a race already this season but has been a fantastic advertisement for the talents of his trainer.

Talking of Griffiths, the Yorkshire-based trainer's horses are running well at the moment - Duke Of Firenze winning a valuable York handicap last week - but he faces a big challenge on Saturday. Since 1979 at least, no horse aged nine or over has won this race and Take Cover is now 10. 

9. WAADY:

Trainer: John Gosden

General odds: 9-1

For all the success he has had as a trainer, John Gosden does not get his hands on as many classy sprinters as he would probably want. Waady had a very encouraging campaign at three in 2015 but has been winless since a gelding operation at the end of that season. 

His latest defeat of a run of six came as a beaten 2-1 favourite when only sixth of eight at this course a fortnight ago. Two placed efforts in Group company last season (third in this) suggest he must have needed that run and on his very best form he would have decent claims given his excellent draw.

10. WASHINGTON DC:

Trainer: Aidan O'Brien

General odds: 4-1

This horse has never won beyond Listed level, and is stymied by what theoretically is the worst draw of all, but Washington DC is a hardy horse - it's unusual for an Aidan O'Brien four-year-old to have had 19 runs by this stage - with some of the best form in the race.

Third in the Commonwealth Cup and second in the Abbaye, he was sent to both Santa Anita and Meydan where things failed to go his way, but a win at Navan and a narrow defeat in the Palace House Stakes suggest this Zoffany colt has plenty more to give.

11. PRICELESS

Trainer: Clive Cox (won the 2016 Temple Stakes with Profitable)

General odds: 7-1

Had the wind slightly knocked out of her sails when fifth in the Palace House, but that was probably a very good race indeed and her two Listed wins - one at the end of last season, the other at the start of this suggest there could be plenty of improvement to come (she is only four). 

Trainer has been hitting the crossbar of late, but his horses have been running well and his overall win percentage this season is good. Jockey Adam Kirby has become very reliable in Group races too; he and Cox won this last year with Profitable.

12. THESME

Trainer: Nigel Tinkler

General odds: 33-1

Five-year-old mare who usually runs a decent race but may not quite possess enough ammunition to win something of this magnitude. The poor draw hardly helps matters either.

Could only finish 14th of 15 in the Palace House Stakes featuring so many of her rivals on Saturday when fading quite quickly late on. Needs to shrug off that performance to even think of landing a blow but had some big names behind her when fifth in the Nunthorpe last year.

Racinguk.com verdict:

The stats suggest a high draw, allowing easier access to the stands' side rail, is such a significant advantage that one should probably steer clear of the favourite Washington DC, who is drawn in stall one. Quiet Reflection is a lovely filly but has to win without a prep run, giving away weight - and though she won a Group 3 first time out last season this is a deeper race than that Chantilly one was. Clive Cox knows how to get sprinters tuned up for a big occasion and I can see Priceless, drawn next to speed ball Take Cover, laying down a huge challenge but COTAI GLORY is the suggested bet in the race. Usually seen to best effect when taking an early lead or at least prominent, Gavin Lerena is best positioned of all to pick up the rail early and beat off challengers from the front.

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