Sunday 24 September 2017

Fiorente on mark for Stoute

Michael Stoute's touch with older horses remains as sure as ever, as Fiorente clinched the trainer's ninth Princess of Wales's Goldsmiths Stakes at Newmarket yesterday.

Fiorente was yet another of those potentially smart middle-distance horses which are always notable if remaining in Stoute's care after their Classic season, although he arrived at this Group Two with a point to prove.

A winner of just a maiden from seven starts and well behind stablemate Sea Moon in the Hardwicke Stakes, the 11/2 shot thrived in the soft ground to finish two and three-quarter lengths in front of Joshua Tree.

"He just hasn't been firing," said Stoute who added his charge could be effective dropped back to 10 furlongs. "He's a horse I have always held in high esteem, but had a couple of disappointments and I haven't made any plans for him at all."

John Gosden, who has won the St Leger four times, could have four contenders for this year's race after Shantaram won the Bahrain Trophy to add his name to the list of the in-form trainer's candidates for the last Classic.

If the sponsor Ladbrokes' betting on the contest is anything to go by -- Camelot is their 1/4 favourite -- Gosden will not be adding to his tally. Last year, Gosden won the Bahrain Trophy with subsequent Leger winner Masked Marvel and yesterday it was the first time the penny really dropped with Shantaram, which stayed on powerfully to win by three lengths.

Gosden also has Michelangelo, Thought Worthy and Great Heavens in mind for Doncaster in September.

The soft ground has ruined Richard Hannon's chances of retaining the trainers' title this season, but, in his first year training for Sheikh Hamdan, he has a smart juvenile for him in Alhebayeb, which showed great attitude when winning the July Stakes, a race in which Aidan O'Brien's 15/8 favourite Gale Force Ten disappointed.

Fiorente's rider Ryan Moore enjoyed a double as he took the 10-furlong handicap on Andrew Balding's Stature.

Irish Independent

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