Andy Stephens visited James Fanshawe's stables in Newmarket on Monday to get the latest on dual Group One winner The Tin Man ahead of his bid to land the Darley July Cup on Saturday.
Dual Group One winner The Tin Man is a best-priced 13-2 for Saturday's July Cup (John Hoy)
Tom Queally is relishing riding The Tin Man in the Darley July Cup at Newmarket on Saturday and believes the £500,000 showpiece has the potential to be one of the most memorable renewals ever run.
The Tin Man looked better than ever when he showed great acceleration to win the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot last month and the dual Group One was on good terms with himself at the yard of James Fanshawe on Monday morning.
His shiny skin radiated good health and, when led from his box after morning exercise, he mischievously pawed at the ground in the paddock as if already beginning to rev up his engine for the biggest assignment of his career.
Tasleet and Limato, the pair who chased him home in a rousing encounter at the Royal meeting, are set to re-oppose and the trio will be joined by the pair who dominated the finish of an exhilarating Commonwealth Cup 24 hours earlier in Caravaggio and Harry Angel.
Caravaggio has been hailed by Aidan O’Brien as the fastest horse he has trained in two decades of churning out champions and the unbeaten son of Scat Daddy is a top-priced 5-4 with Coral and Ladbrokes to extend his winning sequence to seven.
Limato, a scintillating winner of the July Cup last year, and The Tin Man are available at 6-1, with Harry Angel 7-1 and Tasleet 9-1.
None of the other ten entries confirmed on Monday are any shorter than 20-1 and, unless some of the star cast unexpectedly fall by the wayside, it will be a surprise if all 15 turn up.
This July Cup is likely to be all about quality, rather than quantity.
"It has the potential to be a vintage renewal - one that could go down as an all-time great," Queally said.
"The Tin Man’s preparation has been very good and I could not be happier with him. I’m sure James would echo those sentiments.
"All he’s ever done is improve and he has the potential to keep on improving. However much that is, I don’t know, but it doesn’t have to be a whole lot because he’s been dining at the top table.
"I enjoy riding him because he takes a bit of timing and you have to do things right on him at the right time."
Assessing the opposition, he said: "You have to respect them all but I was impressed with Caravaggio in the Commonwealth Cup. You would have to be because they [the first three] pulled a long way clear of the field and he’s clearly very well thought of by Aidan and everyone else at Ballydoyle.
"Limato was a very good winner last year and you cannot disparage course form. It’s a race for everyone to look forward to."
Asked if he felt the Diamond Jubilee Stakes form was stronger than that of the Commonwealth Cup, Queally said: “It’s very hard to tell at this stage. I’ve watched both back and everyone will form their own opinion. That’s what makes this game so good.”
The Tin Man will be having his first run at Newmarket, but Fanshawe says nothing should be read into that.
He said: “It’s by accident that he’s never run at Newmarket before, it’s just the way that things have turned out, but he handles the Limekilns gallop and [like the July Course] that has a dip in it.
The Tin Man bids to become James Fanshawe's second winner of the Julu Cup after Frizzante in 2004 (John Hoy)
“The Tin Man is very well in himself. He did a piece of work on Saturday and, although he has never been a flashy work horse, he seems to have been nice and bright since then.”
Queally also believes the nature of the course will not be a problem. "He’s pretty straightforward and he’s worked on the gallops parallel to both tracks (Rowley Mile and July Course) and that would have to be a help," the jockey said. "He’s lightly raced but he’s experienced enough to deal with any challenges the July Course may pose. He travels well and takes you an awful long way on the bridle."
The 32-year-old rider has ridden almost 100 Group/Listed winners but is destined to always be remembered for his association with Frankel.
That legendary performer, who won all 14 of his races and was perhaps the best there has been, was retired five years ago, though, and he wants to be judged on the present, rather than the past.
"It’s about the here and now," Queally said. "Scoring highly with numbers would not matter to me - at the back of my mind I don’t think I’ve ridden all the big winners I have done by accident. Confidence is not a factor with me and I treat all races the same - whether they are a Group One or a 0-60 handicap.
"It is all about the horse. People say you are riding well or you are looking more confident [when you have winners] but it’s not really the case. You just happen to be on a horse that is quicker than the guy next to you.
"Being here on a Monday morning having a laugh with the lads, being around nice horses and nice people? You can’t buy that. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do and hopefully I can do for a little while longer."
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