Wednesday 17 January 2018

Hughes delighted to follow Suit

Richard Hughes is excited at continuing his association with Strong Suit in next Sunday's Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at The Curragh.

Hughes has been aboard the Richard Hannon-trained juvenile for both his starts, a Newbury maiden and the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot, and is very keen on his prospects in Co Kildare.

"I couldn't be happier with him. He is in great form and if he runs his race, then he has an excellent chance," said the jockey.

"Out of the juveniles this year I would have to rate this one as the best. Obviously there are the likes of King Torus and Libranno but this one is a bit special.

"Canford Cliffs is a bit different again. It's hard to compare the two as this horse is much bigger so it's hard to know how much is to come. We will see how he is after this. He is a big horse so there could be plenty more to come, we might get him out again this year if all goes well."

The home defence is led by Kevin Prendergast's Dunboyne Express. The Shamardal colt is also unbeaten in two outings including the Group Three Anglesey Stakes over the course and distance last month. "He's in good shape and we're looking for a big run from him," said Prendergast.

"This has been the plan since the Anglesey and he couldn't have done any more than he did that day.

"He won by eight lengths and had the horse that was fourth in the Coventry (Samuel Morse) in second.

"He's entitled to take his chance and maybe outside Richard Hannon's horse, his form says he has the beating of the rest of them.

"At the moment I would put the ground down as good to yielding. We're due a bit more rain but I don't think it will be any worse than good come Sunday.

"That would be ideal for our horse. Genuine good ground would be grand for him."

Aidan O'Brien has won 10 of the last 12 runnings of this Group One for two-year-olds. The Ballydoyle trainer has a team of four -- Emperor Hadrian, Samuel Morse, Snow Mountain and Zoffany -- amongst a final field of nine.

Godolphin's Al Aasifh from Saeed bin Suroor's stable, John Joseph Murphy's Foolproof and Jim Bolger's Glor Na Mara complete the line-up.

Sunday Independent

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