Ed Walker believes stable stalwart Stormy Antarctic will be ‘hard to beat’ if a recent wind operation helps bring his A game to the table in the Ladbrokes Magnolia Stakes at Kempton Park on Saturday.
Having failed to register a victory in a calendar year for the first time in his career last season, the gelded son of Stormy Atlantic will bid to revive his fortunes stepping back up to a mile and a quarter in the feature Listed prize.
Although Stormy Antarctic beat only one rival home in his final three starts last term, Walker believes another performance like the one which saw the now eight-year-old finish second behind Persian King in the Group One Prix d’Ispahan would see him go close this weekend.
He said: “For the first time in his career last season he was a bit in and out. He arguably ran a career-best in the Prix d’Ispahan then bombed out on two or three occasions, so we gave him the wind operation. He is so enthusiastic at home and he is training and moving great.
“He has got more enthusiasm than all of the other horses in the yard so we are going to give him a few chances to try and redeem himself and proves he still wants it on the track.
“This looks a perfect spot for him to try and bounce back as it is a small field and he has run well around Kempton before and the trip is not an issue as well.
“We are on a bit of a recovery mission and hopefully he is back to his old self, but if he turns up with his A game he will be the one to beat on that Ispahan form.”
The John and Thady Gosden-trained Global Giant failed to fire on his dirt debut behind stablemate Mishriff in last month’s Saudi Cup at Riyadh, however, connections are confident the six-year-old son of Shamardal can add a third Listed success to his name.
Thady Gosden said: “He was drawn in the middle of the pack in the Saudi Cup and it was his first time on the dirt, but he failed to handle the kickback of the surface. You never know if they will handle that surface or not until you have tried but he didn’t seem to.
“He was running well at this level last year and he won the Steventon Stakes at Newbury at this level while we know he handles the all-weather.
“The nature of the track will suit him as should the small field. The race in Saudi Arabia was far from ideal but he took the travelling well and has come back in great form.”
Echoing those thoughts is jockey Rab Havlin who will be riding Global Giant for the first time since steering him to victory at Wolverhampton last January.
He added: “Global Giant was a bit unlucky in the Bahrain Trophy as he missed the kick before finishing second then he didn’t really take to the dirt last time so you can put a line through that.
“He seems in good form and I rode him on Thursday morning and have ridden him in work and I’m pleased with him. He has a good draw in two and hopefully, he can run well.
“The small field is a bit of a bonus and he can travel and quicken well.”
Meanwhile, William Haggas hopes the best is yet to come from Faylaq, who will be making his first start since being gelded.
Haggas said: “He is coming back from having a bad season last year but we still feel he has got a lot more to offer. We gelded as it was clear he was not going to be a stallion so we now need him to be a racehorse and Dubawi’s have a great record gelded.
“He has been beaten by Global Giant before and failed to beat him but we think he is better than that. I’m hoping for an improved showing but he will improve for the run.”
The field is completed by the Jane Chapple-Hyam-trained War Leader and Sky Defender from the Mark Johnston yard.