Elwazir bidding to continue progression in Rose of Lancaster Stakes

Fri 10 Aug 2018

Owen Burrows believes Elwazir should be more than capable of making an impact on his first start at Pattern-race level in the Smarkets Betting Exchange Rose of Lancaster Stakes at Haydock.

The son of Frankel, who defeated subsequent Gordon Stakes winner Cross Counter on his return at Sandown, will bid to make it three from three this season in the Group Three prize, having claimed a handicap at Ascot last time out.

Burrows said: “I’m not sure he deserves to be favourite, but we are looking forward to running him and he has done nothing wrong this season.

“I’d like to think he is up to this class, but he has still got to go there and do the job. He wants a nice, galloping track and this looks a nice opportunity for him.

“There is a chance of a shower and if they do get one it would just take the sting out of the ground for him.”

Hugo Palmer is counting on cheekpieces again having the desired effect on German 2000 Guineas runner-up Fajjaj in the extended 10-furlong prize, after the three-year-old finished third in a Listed contest at Newbury on his most recent start.

He said: “We are lucky that he is fairly versatile regarding ground, as he has run well on quick ground and won on good to soft ground.

“We sent him to Ayr two runs back to try to get some confidence into him and it really helped him, as he ran a career-best at Newbury.

“He has got the cheekpieces on again. Ben Curtis, who rides on Saturday, thought that when he went back up in class after he won on him at Ayr it would sharpen him up a bit, and they certainly did at Newbury.

“Hopefully they will have the same effect.”

Mark Johnston hopes Communique can keep his momentum going by successfully making the jump from the handicap ranks and claiming win number four of the campaign.

The Middleham trainer said: “He’s been a revelation this season. Obviously he needs to raise his game, as this will be his first run outside of handicap company and on ratings he’s got a little bit to find, but we hope that he can do.

“The ground shouldn’t make any difference to him.”

Agrotera provided trainer Ed Walker with his first Royal Ascot winner when landing the Sandringham Handicap and the Lambourn handler is keeping his fingers crossed she can follow up in the Listed Smarkets/British EBF Dick Hern Stakes.

He said: “She is in good form. We had her in the Valiant at Ascot, but she just wasn’t ready for that.

“She is a big girl and I backed off her after Royal Ascot and gave her time to get over that. I probably just left her alone too much, but I think she is ready to get back on track now.

“It is a lovely lead-up at Haydock for a filly that can get on her toes. She was great in the pre-parade at Ascot, then it all got to her a bit in the paddock. Hopefully she will be more relaxed this time.”

While Unforgetable Filly is yet to reach the heights of last year’s victory in the German 1000 Guineas, the daughter of Sepoy will try to build on an encouraging fourth at Ascot and give Newmarket handler Palmer his first victory in the mile contest.

He said: “At Ascot the last day James Doyle was kicking himself afterwards, as he felt he could have won, but I don’t think it was his fault. She was only beaten a length and it was great to see her back performing at stakes level.

“She is a fast-ground filly and if you look at her record she has been a non-runner at least twice this season because of the ground and if it rains that could be the case again.

“I think the blinkers have sharpened her up and racing round a bend suits her. She is in great shape and the best she has looked all season.”

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