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Caravaggio could be asked to conquer Everest in late-season adventure

Aidan O'Brien is eyeing a potential trip to Australia with Caravaggio after he justified the hype to win the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot.

The son of Scat Daddy put his unbeaten record and huge reputation on the line in the three-year-old-only Group One and it was by no means a straightforward task with the Godolphin-owned pair of Harry Angel and Blue Point both formidable opponents.

Harry Angel dominated from the front in last month's Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock and adopted the same trail-blazing tactics under Adam Kirby.

Blue Point beat Harry Angel in the Pavilion Stakes over the course and distance in early May and loomed up to challenge inside the final furlong.

Harry Angel managed to see him off on this occasion, but had no answer when the more patiently-ridden 5-6 favourite Caravaggio stormed by late on under Ryan Moore and there was three-quarters of a length between them at the line.

O'Brien said: " He's obviously a brilliant horse. It was only his second run back and we've been afraid to do too much because we didn't want to lose that brilliance that he has. Ryan gave him a brilliant ride and his change of pace is unbelievable.

"He's very quick - I don't think we've ever had a quicker horse."

Outlining plans that could involve a trip to Randwick racecourse in October for what will be the richest race in the world on turf, O'Brien said: "The lads will talk about what to do, but you'd think about the July Cup (Newmarket).

"We were thinking about something like that in the mid-summer and then give him a break and the lads have it in their heads about the Everest Stakes in Australia in the autumn.

"That's why we didn't want to be too hard on him now. He is only a three-year-old and it's a long way through a year."

Moore was suitably impressed by the performance.

"I think that was a proper race, he's beaten two very good horses there," said the jockey.

"They made him work but he was going away at the end."

Coolmore supremo John Magnier already has one eye on Caravaggio's future career as a stallion.

He said: " Any winner here always means something.

"We were unlucky to lose Scat Daddy a few years ago and I think that is his fourth winner this week so hopefully this fellow will take his place.

"Aidan has always said he's one of the quickest he's ever had and he's still unbeaten.

"He's a better racehorse than Scat Daddy and it is a cross that we need, it's fortunate for us he's come at the right time."

Harry Angel filled the runner-up spot, half a length in front of Blue Point, with the trio pulling nicely clear of American challenger Bound For Nowhere.

Harry Angel's trainer Clive Cox said: "It was a great horse race. He wore his heart on his sleeve a little bit going out in front, but when you take the blindfold off they jump that quick and there's nothing you can do about it.

"It was close. The winner had to work to get us, so I don't think there's any doubt after finishing second in a Group One it will take long for him to take his Group One somewhere.

"We'll just see how he comes out of this before we plan where to go next."

Charlie Appleby said of Blue Point: "I think we're all singing from the same hymn sheet by saying we're not going to see a sprint like that for a long time.

"William (Buick) got off and said it was a great race to ride in. They've gone quick and they've all kept finding."

RaceBets make Caravaggio 4-1 favourite for the Everest, and quote Lady Aurelia at 10-1.

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Winter wonderland for Aidan O'Brien and Ryan Moore

Dual Classic heroine Winter continued her fantastic season with an assured victory in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot.

The daughter of Galileo caused something of an upset when seeing off better-fancied stablemate Rhododendron in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket, but proved that was no fluke when following up in the Irish equivalent at the Curragh in tremendous style.

Her stablemate Churchill, this year's dual 2000 Guineas winner, came up short in Tuesday's St James's Palace Stakes, but Winter made no mistake in the hands of Ryan Moore.

With French raider Precieuse and Winter's stablemate Roly Poly setting the pace, the 4-9 favourite was waited with by Moore.

She was sent about her business passing the two-furlong marker and quickly found an extra gear to leave her rivals toiling.

Winter passed the post with two and a quarter lengths in hand over Roly Poly, while Hydrangea was third to provide trainer Aidan O'Brien with a one-two-three, and a big double on the day after Caravaggio in the preceding Commonwealth Cup.

Moore said: "She was only doing what she had to do. She travelled beautifully through the race and was very professional, but she was just doing what she had to I think.

"It's a hard thing to do to win two Guineas and then come here, but she's with a trainer who can do magic things.

"It's very hard to do what she's done, but she's good. She's beaten some good fillies from France and America and this is a strong piece of form."

O'Brien said: "She's a filly who is thriving from race to race, she travelled well, Ryan had her in a lovely position and she's won very well.

"She gets the trip very well, she's very classy and is a great traveller. When you ask her she gallops out strong.

"Physically she's thriving, David (Wachman, former trainer) always thought the world of her last year and now she's thriving race to race."

O'Brien went on: "All roads lead to Del Mar (Breeders' Cup), but first there's a race in three weeks' time, the Falmouth, so we'll see how she is and how her training keeps going.

"She's had four races quick enough, but she's doing well and enjoying it. She'll get further later on so we might look at races like the Nassau. I thought her best furlong was the last. She galloped out."

O'Brien also had news of Rhododendron, who was last seen pulling up in the French Oaks, and the brilliant Minding, whom it is hoped will return for an autumn campaign after a setback derailed her from a number of targets.

He said of Rhododendron: "She's OK. She's a little bit quiet in herself, so we'll go gently away for a couple of weeks and she how she comes on."

He added of Minding: "She's back on long-reins work on Monday. She'll be doing that for three weeks and then hopefully she'll be able to be ridden again. It will probably take a couple of months after that, I'd imagine that's what it would take."

John Gosden said of Dabyah, who travelled well but faded into fourth: "She ran a beautiful race, she was last off the bridle and I just wanted the furlong pole to be the finish line.

"We rode her to get the mile and she's a lovely filly, but she just doesn't quite stay so it's a case of coming back to seven furlongs now."

There were stings in the tails for Seamie Heffernan, rider of Roly Poly, who received a five-day ban for careless riding, while Derby-winning jockey Padraig Beggy, who was aboard Hydrangea, picked up a two-day suspension for using the whip above the permitted level.

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Permian back on song for King Edward VII triumph

Permian bounced back from his disappointing run in the Investec Derby to claim the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Mark Johnston's colt was supplemented for the premier Classic at Epsom following victory in the Dante Stakes at York, but finished a well-beaten 10th.

Returning to action less than three weeks later, the son of Teofilo raced on the front end throughout under William Buick and kicked for home rounding the final bend.

Crystal Ocean, the 9-4 favourite, threw down a strong challenge, but Permian (6-1) fought him off.

Khalidi came from further back to mount a late bid, but Johnston's charge was not for catching and held on by half a length. Khalidi was a clear second ahead of Crystal Ocean in third.

Buick said: "Mark gave me a lot of confidence in the sense that he just wanted his horse to go forward and get across without asking him too much.

"I know Mark and the team were surprised how badly he ran in the Derby, but I couldn't help as I had no explanation really, he certainly felt like a much better horse today. It was a good performance."

Johnston, registering his 40th Royal Ascot winner, said: "It's a bit of a relief to get on the scoresheet after a blank last year, our first since 1994, and I was dreading the idea of another blank so it's great.

"It's great for the horse after the disappointment in the Derby, a lot of people said it was too soon to come back so I had a lot of agonising and it was only a last-minute decision.

"William said he felt like a horse who didn't handle the track (at Epsom) which was strange as he'd run well there before, but he just felt today he felt a different horse so I think he had an off-day in the Derby - it happens.

"I'll have a think about where next, he's won two Group Twos so we need a Group One, it won't be the Irish Derby though, I can tell you that, that is too soon."

John Gosden said of the runner-up: "There was no pace and he was a little keen, he just had to wait to get where he wanted to go and the winner just got first run.

"He's run a blinder and I'm thrilled with him. He's had a lot of racing, as had the winner, and they've both run exceptional races. We'll just see where we are for a little bit, he's not the biggest but he's a tough cookie."

Sir Michael Stoute said of Crystal Ocean: "That was a good run and he is consistent. He will progress as he's a horse with a lot of scope.

"A mile and a half is fine for him. He's had three races behind him now so there's no excuses at all. The Dante is looking like good form."

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French filly top of the league in Albany

French challenger Different League claimed top honours in the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Despite having won both of her previous two starts, Matthieu Palussiere's filly was a 20-1 shot for the opening race on day four of the meeting in the hands of Antoine Hamelin.

The daughter of Dabirsim made a smart start and was soon leading the group that raced on the far side of the track.

Alpha Centauri, the 2-1 favourite, did her best to make inroads in the final furlong, but Different League never looked in real danger of being caught and passed the post a neck to the good.

Take Me With You fared best of those that raced on the stands side in third.

Hamelin said: "It was a very good performance, this is a great feeling. I love this filly.

"It's amazing, I'm really happy to be here, this is great for me but it's great for everyone back home at the yard.

"A first winner at Royal Ascot is a dream for me."

Palussiere said: "It was amazing. She has an amazing temperament and when she won her last race we thought she was pretty special.

"Her first run was purely educational but she did it very well. We got a bit excited after that and she won her second start. It was only in the provinces which might mean little over here but it was the manner in which she did it.

"She's a well-built filly. After her second win we thought we'd chance it here and we're not sorry we did.

"Our jockey knows our horses and we left plans up to him, he rides with great feeling and the draw is the draw.

"Good horses go on any ground and I think that is what she is. She has many options and we've got a few little ideas behind our head and we'll let you know in time where she goes."

Jessica Harrington, trainer of the beaten market leader, said: "Colm (O'Donoghue) said when they quickened, the winner got a length on our horse and we were gaining all the way to the line.

"Probably the fact she had won her first two races easily it was the first time she had to get down and race.

"We knew it was going to be a big step up, but she didn't disgrace herself and that's the main thing. She'll definitely stay further, seven furlongs will suit her very well.

"I'd say she'll probably wait and go straight to the Moyglare."

Jeremy Noseda, trainer of Take Me With You, was not happy with the watering of the course.

He said: "The watering has changed the track and changed the results. It's not natural and I don't know what's going on. The watering is not creating fair racing. We want a fair crack of the whip.

"The way they have watered this track has not created a fair playing field."

James Given said of the fourth home Mistress Of Venice: "Beforehand I couldn't understand why she was 66-1. She has come into this race with Listed form.

"She's run an absolute blinder. She's taken the Marygate form forward. I think we'll try to win a maiden, then we can think of races like the Lowther."

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Stradivarius calls the tune in Queen's Vase

Stradivarius came home best to emerge victorious in the Queen's Vase at Royal Ascot.

The Group Two contest was run over a mile and three-quarters having been reduced from two miles but it was nevertheless a thorough test of stamina.

Time To Study made much of the running along with Wisconsin, who hung badly heading out for the second circuit and raced very wide before eventually rejoining the remaining runners.

That pair rounded the home turn in front, but Wisconsin predictably faded quickly soon after and try as he might, Time To Study was unable to hold off the chasing pack.

Count Octave hit the front inside the final two furlongs, but John Gosden's 11-2 chance Stradivarius came at him late under Andrea Atzeni and got up to score by a neck.

Secret Advisor was a couple of lengths away in third.

Atzeni said: "Mr Gosden was keen for me to get a good position and I got one on the rails.

"He's a horse that is still learning but he was very brave to go through the gap, when he got through he picked up really well.

"It was fairly messy at that first bend, but I was lucky my horse travelled into it and I could get a good position.

"It's great to have a winner here, I've waited two years (since first one) and I've had good chances all week."

Gosden said: "He's improving, we planned the race for some time after Chester.

"Andrea has ridden him beautifully from an outside draw, he's saved ground all the way, slipped here, slipped there, wriggle wriggle and he's won it in good style.

"He's a St Leger-type of horse, improving all the time, he's got a great attitude and it's great for Andrea, I think that's only his second Ascot winner. I feel sorry for Frankie (Dettori, who is injured), that's another winner he's missed.

"I thank Frankie for getting them all ready, I'm just sorry you weren't here my friend."

The placed horses could also be aimed at the St Leger.

Andrew Balding said of Count Octave: "I'm delighted as that was only his fourth run and he's still learning. He's a horse for the future. I'm delighted with how he travelled and he looks a stayer for the future.

"He might be a St Leger horse but he would not want the ground too soft. I think York would suit him very well so the Great Voltigeur is a possibility and I'll discuss that with Sheikh Fahad."

Charlie Appleby said of the third: "He's got a stout pedigree and he's done what he's bred to do, which is stay. He's got a nice future ahead of him and that was only the fourth run of his life. I'm not saying there's bags of improvement in him, but he is a Dubawi and they get better with racing.

"It's not out of the realms to say he's a St Leger horse."

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Rhythm flows to victory on Duke Of Edinburgh comeback

The long-absent Rare Rhythm provided jockey William Buick with his second winner of the day and fourth of Royal Ascot 2017 by landing the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes.

Charlie Appleby's charge had not been seen in competitive action since finishing eighth in last year's renewal of this mile-and-a-half handicap, but a lack of match practice was clearly not an issue.

The 20-1 chance was always up with the pace and dug deep in the closing stages to get the better of Appeared by two and a quarter lengths to clinch a sixth winner of the meeting for Godolphin.

Star Storm and Top Tug were third and fourth respectively.

Buick said: "This one is for Charlie and all the guys at home, they've prepared this horse tremendously well, they deal with him every day so this result is for the team. I'm just the rider on the day."

Appleby said: "That was a great ride from William. We were confident this horse was fit enough, we've taken him to Chelmsford on two occasions so he was primed for today but I thought the ground would be quick enough, if I'm honest.

"So, from that draw on that ground, William has given him a brilliant ride. We were going to go forward and float across and couldn't ask for anything more.

"He's a horse we've always felt had plenty of ability, but he hasn't been seen since this race last year, we were just waiting for better ground and then we mapped him out for the November Handicap but he met with a setback.

"We came here confident but not too bullish."

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Henry Candy sweet on Limato in Diamond Jubilee at Royal Ascot

Henry Candy believes Limato is physically and mentally in peak condition ahead of his bid for Royal Ascot glory in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes on Saturday.

The five-year-old was a stunning winner of the July Cup at Newmarket last summer and doubled his Group One tally in the Prix de la Foret at Chantilly in the autumn.

However, he lines up in Berkshire with something to prove after a disappointing effort on rain-softened ground in the Al Quoz Sprint at Meydan three months ago.

Candy admits it has taken Limato a long time to recover from his exertions in Dubai.

The Wantage handler said: "Hopefully it will still be good, fast ground on Saturday. If we don't get too much rain it should be perfect.

"I've never seen him more depressed than when he got home from Dubai.

"I was surprised how much it did affect him. We had to force him a lot to get him as near fit as we could for World Cup night, then the ground was atrocious.

"He couldn't get any purchase on it and he pulled a lot of muscles and I think that is what got to him.

"It has just been a case of giving him plenty of time.

"It has taken us a long time to get him back to his old self, but he seems to be there now.

" He is full of cheek and full of fun and he is working well, so I'm happy."

William Haggas is expecting a bold show from Duke of York Stakes winner Tasleet.

The Newmarket handler said: "He'd struggled on soft ground as a two-year-old so if anybody listened to me before he went to York I sadly put them off.

"I'd always tried to avoid it (soft ground), but he looked to relish it at York.

"Whether the cheekpieces had something to do with it, which is very possible, and he'll have them again, he looked quite a good hand.

"I wouldn't mind a bit of give, but I think the drop back in trip suited him more.

"He had a bad injury which took an age to recover from last year. It was a shame to miss the summer having won the Greenham.

"He's a lightly-raced four-year-old and I think there's more to come."

The Charlie Hills-trained Magical Memory was a close-up fourth when favourite for last year's Diamond Jubilee and finished runner-up in the Duke of York on his seasonal reappearance.

Sam Hoskins, racing manager for the owners Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds, said: " Charlie is very happy with the horse and I think we've got to be delighted with the draw in stall 18.

"It's sad Frankie (Dettori) is injured and can't ride as he knows the horse so well, but James Doyle is a great substitute and we're all really looking forward to the race.

"He ran a cracker in the race last year to be beaten only half a length and we were really happy with his reappearance at York.

"Hopefully he should get much closer to Tasleet and hopefully that will be good enough to put him right in the mix.

"We're cautiously optimistic. It looks like we're drawn on the right side and hopefully we're in with a shout."

Other contenders for the home team include James Fanshawe's The Tin Man and the Dean Ivory-trained Librisa Breeze.

The international challenge includes French raider The Right Man, winner of the Al Quoz Sprint, and Long On Value, trained in America by Bill Mott.

Mott's son and assistant, Riley, said: " Since we've brought him back in distance he's been coming from well off the pace in his races.

"With him it's just a matter of getting him relaxed, whether he is up close or further back to allow him to find his stride."

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Sir Michael Stoute targets more Hardwicke glory with Royal runner Dartmouth

Nothing gets the Royal Ascot crowd going like a winner for the Queen, and Dartmouth is aiming to repeat his victory of 12 months ago in the Hardwicke Stakes.

Scenes of Her Majesty cheering home her winners propels racing from the back pages to the front, but Dartmouth's trainer Sir Michael Stoute insists he never feels any added pressure.

Stoute is unlikely to ever top winning the 2013 Gold Cup for the Queen, but a second Hardwicke triumph for the Dubawi entire would be some achievement.

The Freemason Lodge handler has won the race a record-breaking 10 times, and his five-year-old is now aiming to replicate former Stoute inmates Rock Hopper and Maraahel, who are both dual Hardwicke heroes.

Dartmouth arrives off the back of a narrow win in the Yorkshire Cup where he ran over a mile and three-quarters for the first time.

Stoute said: "We've been able to have a Royal winner on a number of occasions, but there's no pressure.

"He's in good shape and he knows his way around the track.

"He loves the track - he's solid."

Stoute is also represented by Across The Stars, who won the King Edward VII Stakes at this meeting last year but was way below form on his reappearance in a Group Three at Newbury last month.

Wings Of Desire was fourth in last season's Derby and second in the King George - arguably the best form on offer - but John Gosden's four-year-old has not been in action since he disappointed in the Juddmonte International at York last August.

Gosden also runs Western Hymn and Muntahaa, while Aidan O'Brien saddles Idaho, a long way behind his full-brother Highland Reel in the Coronation Cup on his sole start this season.

My Dream Boat, shock winner of the Prince of Wales's Stakes last year, Second Step and Dal Harraild are others in the mix.

Roger Varian runs Barsanti, not far behind Second Step at Goodwood last time.

The Newmarket handler told www.varianstable.com: "Barsanti produced his usual gallant performance when running third on his reappearance at Goodwood and I feel he has stepped forward for the run.

"This is a big ask from a wide draw, but he might not have finished improving just yet."

Saeed bin Suroor's Prize Money beat Postponed in Dubai and also did well to be fourth in the Sheema Classic, but he ran no race in the Coronation Cup.

"Prize Money ran well out in Dubai, winning the Dubai City Of Gold, but was disappointing on his latest start in the Coronation Cup," Bin Suroor told www.godolphin.com.

"He came out of that race in good form and his last piece of work went well.

"I am looking for a better run from him."

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Royal Ascot winner Thomas Hobson back for more in Queen Alexandra Stakes

Willie Mullins sends Thomas Hobson into battle for the second time this week when he runs in the Queen Alexandra Stakes at Royal Ascot on Saturday.

The seven-year-old carried the familiar colours of Rich and Susannah Ricci to an impressive victory in the Ascot Stakes on Tuesday and returns to action just four days later for the concluding race of the meeting.

The Mullins-trained Simenon completed the double in 2012 and the all-conquering National Hunt trainer is hopeful Thomas Hobson can repeat the feat in this two-mile-five-furlong conditions stakes.

"He's come out of the race on Tuesday well. He's eating and drinking and we're happy with him," said the Closutton handler.

"I suppose we'd like one or two of those showers that are forecast to fall - that would be a help - but we're happy to let him take his chance."

Mullins mentioned the Melbourne Cup as a potential long-term target after Thomas Hobson's triumph earlier in the week, but added: "We'll take it as it comes."

Martin Harley takes over in the saddle from Ryan Moore, who is committed to riding US Army Ranger for Aidan O'Brien.

Harley said: "It's exciting getting the ride. He was very impressive the other day.

"Track and conditions are no problem and he is obviously fresh and well as he (Mullins) has declared him. If everything goes according to plan he will definitely have a big shout.

"It's probably about my 10th ride for Willie. I rode three or four for him at Royal Ascot last year.

"He's a good trainer to have a nice ride for. He's a trainer that everyone looks forward to riding for, whether it is on the Flat or over the jumps.

"It looks like he is one of best chances of the week. It is a hard place to get winners but if you are not on a horse with a chance you can't get winners."

US Army Ranger is a fascinating contender for O'Brien and Moore.

The Galileo colt was favourite for the Epsom Derby only 12 months ago and ran a fine race to finish second behind Harzand.

However, he came home last of 10 runners on his latest appearance in the Coronation Cup and goes a mile further than he has ever been in his career.

The Godolphin team are doubly represented with Saeed bin Suroor's Winning Story and the Charlie Appleby-trained Qewy.

Qewy ran an excellent race to finish fourth in last year's Melbourne Cup and makes his first appearance since winning a Listed race in Australia just 11 days later.

Appleby said: " He comes into this well. Obviously it is first start since he was in Australia, where he put up some good performances.

"He was a winner of a Listed race over there and doesn't carry a penalty. I really do feel he deserves to be in it and doesn't look out of place.

"He's a dour stayer and does what it says on the tin. He will be out there grinding away at the end."

Other contenders include Mark Johnston's Oriental Fox, who won this race in 2015, Joseph O'Brien's Motherland and Hughie Morrison's pair of Fun Mac and Vent De Force.

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Royal Ascot winner Thomas Hobson back for more in Queen Alexandra Stakes

Willie Mullins sends Thomas Hobson into battle for the second time this week when he runs in the Queen Alexandra Stakes at Royal Ascot on Saturday.

The seven-year-old carried the familiar colours of Rich and Susannah Ricci to an impressive victory in the Ascot Stakes on Tuesday and returns to action just four days later for the concluding race of the meeting.

The Mullins-trained Simenon completed the double in 2012 and the all-conquering National Hunt trainer is hopeful Thomas Hobson can repeat the feat in this two-mile-five-furlong conditions stakes.

"He's come out of the race on Tuesday well. He's eating and drinking and we're happy with him," said the Closutton handler.

"I suppose we'd like one or two of those showers that are forecast to fall - that would be a help - but we're happy to let him take his chance."

Mullins mentioned the Melbourne Cup as a potential long-term target after Thomas Hobson's triumph earlier in the week, but added: "We'll take it as it comes."

Martin Harley takes over in the saddle from Ryan Moore, who is committed to riding US Army Ranger for Aidan O'Brien.

Harley said: "It's exciting getting the ride. He was very impressive the other day.

"Track and conditions are no problem and he is obviously fresh and well as he (Mullins) has declared him. If everything goes according to plan he will definitely have a big shout.

"It's probably about my 10th ride for Willie. I rode three or four for him at Royal Ascot last year.

"He's a good trainer to have a nice ride for. He's a trainer that everyone looks forward to riding for, whether it is on the Flat or over the jumps.

"It looks like he is one of best chances of the week. It is a hard place to get winners but if you are not on a horse with a chance you can't get winners."

US Army Ranger is a fascinating contender for O'Brien and Moore.

The Galileo colt was favourite for the Epsom Derby only 12 months ago and ran a fine race to finish second behind Harzand.

However, he came home last of 10 runners on his latest appearance in the Coronation Cup and goes a mile further than he has ever been in his career.

The Godolphin team are doubly represented with Saeed bin Suroor's Winning Story and the Charlie Appleby-trained Qewy.

Qewy ran an excellent race to finish fourth in last year's Melbourne Cup and makes his first appearance since winning a Listed race in Australia just 11 days later.

Appleby said: " He comes into this well. Obviously it is first start since he was in Australia, where he put up some good performances.

"He was a winner of a Listed race over there and doesn't carry a penalty. I really do feel he deserves to be in it and doesn't look out of place.

"He's a dour stayer and does what it says on the tin. He will be out there grinding away at the end."

Other contenders include Mark Johnston's Oriental Fox, who won this race in 2015, Joseph O'Brien's Motherland and Hughie Morrison's pair of Fun Mac and Vent De Force.