Joel Stakes preview: Accidental Agent on recovery mission

Fri 28 Sep 2018

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Accidental Agent bids to get his season back on track in the Shadwell Joel Stakes at Newmarket on Friday.

Eve Johnson Houghton’s stable star caused a huge upset when winning the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot, but never threatened to land a telling blow in the Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville won by Alpha Centauri on his latest appearance.

He makes his first start since that early August assignment in this Group Two contest, with his trainer already having one eye on the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes back at Ascot on October 20.

Accidental Agent and Charlie Bishop shone at Royal Ascot
Accidental Agent and Charlie Bishop shone at Royal Ascot

“He’s in great form. This is his prep race for the QEII, and we’re very happy with him,” said Johnson Houghton.

“Hopefully he’ll get back on track. I think the ground is pretty irrelevant, to be honest.

“I believe that a couple of the other runners have made the running in the past – but if they don’t go a great pace, so be it, Accidental Agent did twice win over seven furlongs last autumn.

“He seems in very good form, but Mustashry looks useful – and giving weight to him will be hard.”

She added: “Accidental Agent has got to carry a Group One penalty but I believe that he is still improving and I can’t see why that won’t negate the burden of having to give weight.

“He has only run below par once this year and that was when he was under the weather. I think he went over to France for the Jacques Le Marois with some kind of bug on him, he was very quiet while he was over there. The travelling brought it out and he was very low for two weeks afterwards.”

Mustashry was a winner at the St Leger meeting
Mustashry was a winner at the St Leger meeting

“He has thrived since then and he has to run in the Joel as he is a gross horse and waiting another month for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes would be too much.”

Accidental Agent’s biggest threat appears to be the aforementioned Mustashry.

The Sir Michael Stoute-trained five-year-old clinched the biggest success of his career to date in the Park Stakes at Doncaster a fortnight ago and aims to secure successive Group Two prizes.

Angus Gold, racing manager to owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, said: “I was very impressed with him at Doncaster. He was obviously coming back to seven furlongs that day and looked beaten, but he showed a really good attitude to battle back and win.

Regal Reality is bidding to bounce back to the form he showed at Glorious Goodwood
Regal Reality is bidding to bounce back to the form he showed at Glorious Goodwood

“I don’t think going back up to a mile is going to bother him at all and hopefully he’ll run well again.

“He’s had a few problems along the way, but he’s doing really well at the moment.”

Stoute also saddles Regal Reality, one of two runners for Cheveley Park Stud along with Clive Cox’s Zonderland.

Zabeel Prince, winner of four of his seven starts for Roger Varian, completes the five-strong field.

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