Owen Burrows hopes Tabdeed can make the most of a drop in grade by “getting on the scoresheet” for the first time in more than a year in the Close Brothers Hopeful Stakes tomorrow (Saturday 28th August) – the final fixture of 2021 at Newmarket’s July Course.
The Lambourn trainer, and keen Everton fan, will revert the Havana Gold gelding back to Listed company for the first time this term in an attempt to get his career back on track in the six furlong feature race.
Tabdeed has posted two solid efforts in defeat at Group Three level this campaign, the most recent when finishing a close third during the defence of his Hackwood Stakes title at Newbury.
And Burrows said: “Tabdeed ran very well when trying to defend his Hackwood Stakes crown and he was only beaten in a photo.
“There are not many options for horses like this. There was either this or the Garrowby at York but when we saw the entries we thought we would look at this.
“He is not quite a Group One sprinter, though the ground was heavy in the Sprint Cup at Haydock when he raced at that level last season but that is twice he has disappointed on soft ground.
“This year he has been in a good place as we are normally treading on egg shells hence why he hasn’t had many races in his career. It is good to firm and in an ideal world it would be good but they do a good job with the track at Newmarket.
“He has never run at the track but I can’t see why he won’t act on it. It would be nice to get him back on the scoresheet again.”
Charlie Hills is counting on the application of first time blinkers having the desired effect on last year’s Darley July Cup fourth Khaadem, who is seeking a first victory since the 2019 Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood.
Hills said: “He worked well in blinkers the other day so we thought we may as well give him a go in them. He ran over seven furlongs last time and I think he did see it out but with the blinkers on we thought it best to bring him back to six furlongs.
“It has been a frustrating season, but he has run some nice races and he looks great while he has kept his condition better this year than last year. He has finished fourth in a July Cup and a Diamond Jubilee Stakes so he can be competitive at that sort of level.
“He has not won since the Stewards’ Cup in 2019 but hopefully he can change that and get another win under his belt and open up a few doors.”
Clive Cox believes a switch to a sounder surface will help Royal Scimitar in his attempt to secure a first success since making a winning debut at Newbury last July.
Cox said: “He was impressive on his debut and he ran at Group Three level as a two year old.
“He is a top of the ground horse and where we thought he would stay further he has proven most productive back over six furlongs. He was unlucky at the Shergar Cup meeting last time as the ground was on the easy and he fluffed his lines at the start.
“This is a big step again but he looks great and he ran well over course and distance at the July Festival behind Blackrod, who has since won at York, so I would be hopeful he runs well.”
Charlie Fellowes expects stable stalwart Chiefofchiefs to be well suited by both the track and jockey Hayley Turner, who will be riding the eight year old for the first time in his career.
The trainer said: “He has been very unlucky this year as he has run well but a couple of times it has rained heavily before he has run and that has not suited him.
“I think the six furlongs at Newmarket will suit him well and he is as good as he has ever been this year.
“His run in a Listed race at Doncaster on Lincoln day was on quick ground and watching that race I don’t think he has ever travelled through a race like that so I think he is better on faster ground.
“As Jamie Spencer is away Hayley gets the leg-up. She is brilliant at holding one up and seemed the obvious choice.”
Royal Crusade has failed to feature in any of his four starts this campaign, but his trainer Charlie Appleby is confident a recent gelding operation can revive the four-year-old's fortunes.
He said: “It is his first start since he has been gelded and he has taken the operation well. Hopefully we can now get back on track to where we were as a three year old with him.
“His work has been nice and hopefully he can use this race a starting point to returning to some sort of form.”
Jane Chapple Hyam does not expect the drop back from seven furlongs to cause any issues to Extrodinair, who is bidding to complete a hat-trick of wins at the July Course.
She said: “We are looking forward to running him and hopefully he can make it three wins on the July Course this year.
“I don’t feel dropping back from seven furlongs will be a problem as watching his videos back he is always strong at the six furlong point in his races.
“I know he has got a bit to find at the weights being rated 82 but he likes the track and it is the last meeting at the July Course so we thought why not give this a go?”