Friday 19 January 2018

Classic aces go head-to-head in Royal Ascot showdown

Trainer Andre Fabre
Trainer Andre Fabre

Keith Hamer

Make Believe, winner of the Poule d'Essai des Poulains, is set to take on dual Guineas victor Gleneagles at Royal Ascot after he was supplemented for Tuesday's St James's Palace Stakes.

The Andre Fabre-trained colt was added to the field for the Group One for three-year-olds over the round mile at the confirmation stage, for which 15 are listed.

Make Believe showed he was one of Europe's leading milers when beating his stablemate New Bay in the French 2000 Guineas at Longchamp last month, form well advertised since.

"The decision was made a bit easier with New Bay winning the French Derby. That franked the form, although it was over a different distance," said Ted Voute, bloodstock advisor for owner Prince Faisal. "Immediately after the race in France, Andre mooted that maybe we would do that and he was happy with him.

"I called him this morning and he said he'd supplemented him. It's great and something to look forward to."

Fabre is also represented by Territories, who chased home Gleneagles at Newmarket. As well as Make Believe, Prince Faisal retains an interest in Belardo with Godolphin buying into last season's champion two-year-old.

However, Belardo is unlikely to take his chance unless the ground eases considerably.

"He's ground dependent and unless the weather forecast is terribly wrong I suspect he won't run. The ground needs to be at least good to soft for him to run," said Voute.

As well as Gleneagles, Aidan O'Brien has four other possibles in French Derby runner-up Highland Reel, Sir Isaac Newton, The Happy Prince and War Envoy.

Richard Hannon has left in Ivawood, who finished third behind Gleneagles in both Newmarket and Curragh Classics, and Estidhkaar, who disappointed on the Rowley Mile.

Also in the mix are Aktabantay, Bossy Guest, Consort, Dutch Connection and Latharnach.

With Royal Ascot now less than a week away, the dual champion jockey Ryan Moore maintained his fine form at Haydock yesterday.

Moore guided 11/8 favourite Express Himself through the smallest of gaps on the far rail to score three-quarters of a length as favourite-backer were getting nervous.

Birdman came through to deny Sound Advice the runner-up spot.

Irish Independent

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