Ascot ace Thomas Hobson bids to seal Melbourne ticket in Lonsdale

Thu 24 Aug 2017

Connections of Thomas Hobson are hoping he can stake his claim for a shot at the Melbourne Cup later in the year by putting up a bold show in the Lonsdale Cup at York.

The Willie Mullins-trained seven-year-old will bid to follow in the hoofprints of stablemate Max Dynamite, who took the race in 2015 en route to a trip to Australia, when aiming to make his first start in Pattern company a successful one in the Group Two contest.

Having won the Ascot Stakes on his penultimate outing, the Rich Ricci-owned Grade Two-winning hurdler just came up short in his attempt to land two victories in the space of a week at the Royal meeting, finishing second in the Queen Alexandra Stakes.

Assistant trainer Patrick Mullins said: "He ran two fantastic races at Ascot and almost completed the Simenon double (Ascot Stakes and Queen Alexandra Stakes in 2012).

"I suppose we are trying to make him into a Melbourne Cup horse and he probably needs to go up a few more pounds in the handicap and hopefully he can achieve that with a good run at York.

"Dropping back in trip should not be a problem as he is quite versatile trip-wise. The girl that looks after him has been delighted with him ever since Ascot and we are happy with him going into the race.

"It is exciting getting these good ones to go on the Flat with and being able to take on the top Flat trainers."

William Haggas expects Dal Harraild to be seen to much better effect on his first start over two miles after finishing down the field in the Hardwicke Stakes.

The Newmarket handler said: "We rode him wrong at Ascot, it was my fault. We got sucked into running him because of the ground and when we were drawn where we were, we decided to make the running.

"The trip was too short really, too, but this is his trip and the ground will dry up nicely. He's been crying out for this trip for a year and now he finally gets the chance to run over it.

"He's a very good horse on his day."

A trip Down Under could also be in store for the Sir Mark Prescott-trained St Michel, who will be returning to domestic action having narrowly been denied victory in a Grade Three at Belmont Park in America.

Prescott said: "I heard the jockey criticised the other day, but I thought he gave him a good ride and we had every chance.

"It was a very good run on fast ground. Two miles around York will be fine for him and if all goes well on Friday, he will go for the Melbourne Cup. He would go into quarantine on September 14."

Charlie Fellowes hopes the application of cheekpieces can have the desired effect on Prince Of Arran as he bids to leave a disappointing effort in the Goodwood Cup behind him.

He said: "I don't think Goodwood suited him. When things don't go his way he can throw the towel in and he was never travelling like he did at Ascot. I have put cheekpieces on to help him concentrate a little bit as when he gets out of his comfort zone he just loses interest a little bit.

"I think he is versatile regarding the ground and he is in good form, like the rest of my horses. It is a tough race, but it might not be the strongest Group Two.

"I had the option of the Ebor, but I think a smaller field will suit him better. If he goes back to the two runs at Ascot in the Sagaro and the Gold Cup then he could run well."

The Sir Michael Stoute-trained Dartmouth will have to defy a penalty for his victory in the Yorkshire Cup if he is to give the Queen a winner, while Andrew Balding's Chester Cup hero Montaly will make his first start at this level. Completing the field are High Jinx, Higher Power and Sheikhzayedroad.

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