GBI RACING

Limato up for Challenge repeat at Newmarket

Limato (right) wins the Challenge Stakes at Newmarket last year

Limato’s owner Paul Jacobs is once again watching the weather intently ahead of the Godolphin Stud And Stable Staff Awards Challenge Stakes at Newmarket on Friday.

The talented sprinter had an aborted trip to Ascot on Saturday, where heavy rain denied him the chance to run in the Bengough Stakes.

Having won the Challenge Stakes last year, Jacobs is praying Henry Candy’s star gets the chance to run – with other options thin on the ground.

“At least it wasn’t a 50-50 call last week, I didn’t bother going in the end – Henry stepped on the course, walked a few yards and knew straight away,” said Jacobs.

“I keep watching the forecasts, I’ve spoken to Michael Prosser (clerk of the course) and hopefully Newmarket misses most of the rain.

“Henry has been at the sales and has looked at the track, it’s fine at the moment.

“Although it’s a smaller field than when he won last year, I think it’s a higher calibre of opponent. All we can do is rock up and see.”

He went on: “If he doesn’t get to run the only other option is Champions Day (at Ascot), but it would need to recover from what they had last Saturday and in this country in late October, anything can happen with the weather.”

Among those taking him on are Tom Hogan’s veteran Gordon Lord Byron, William Haggas’ Mankib, Charlie Appleby’s D’Bai and the Andrew Balding-trained Dancing Star.

Michael Bell will be hoping Pretty Pollyanna bounces back to winning ways in the Fillies’ Mile on the card, but he also runs Poetry in the Newmarket Academy Godolphin Beacon Project Cornwallis Stakes.

The filly is on a hat-trick after wins at Nottingham and a clear-cut success in Listed company in France last time out.

“It’s a big step forward for her and it looks very competitive on ratings,” said Bell.

“But she was very impressive in Chantilly the other day and she’s a filly in form and they can be lethal at this time of year.”

Karl Burke runs True Mason who is dropping in trip after finishing second in the Mill Reef.

“I’d just like to see a drop of rain for him but he’s a worthy favourite,” said Burke.

“This looked the logical race after Newbury. He does handle quick ground but being a Mayson he’s happier with a bit of cut.”

True Mason (pink) drops in trip after finishing second in the Mill Reef
True Mason (pink) drops in trip after finishing second in the Mill Reef (Julian Herbert/PA)

In the Godolphin Lifetime Care Oh So Sharp Stakes, Haggas’ Hidden Message is out again after making a winning debut at Yarmouth three weeks ago.

Interestingly she will wear a hood on this occasion, having not worn one on debut.

O’Brien runs Frosty, a full-sister to multiple Group One winner Winter and a taking winner of a Dundalk maiden on her first outing.

Winter winning at Royal Ascot - her sister Frosty puts Classic credentials on the line
Winter winning at Royal Ascot – her sister Frosty puts Classic credentials on the line (John Walton/PA)

The Ballydoyle trainer said: “She’s in good form.

“She’s only had the one run and we would have preferred that she had more experience, but we think the experience will do her good and she should come forward again from the run.”

Angel’s Hideaway drops in grade having come up short in the Cheveley Park Stakes, while Mistress Of Love steps up in class for Burke.

“She’s a lovely filly and won very well on the all-weather at Newcastle and does have a predominantly dirt pedigree,” said Burke.

He went on: “She ran terribly on her debut on turf, but we forgave her as we knew she was better than that.

“We’ll find out if she’s as good on the turf as she is on the all-weather.”

Ralph Beckett’s Glance is an interesting runner, from the family of Oaks winner Look Here.

She left a disappointing debut effort well behind when winning at Goodwood from Sunday Star, who has won since, and the pair meet again.

“We’ve been happy with her since Goodwood and that form has worked out well,” said Beckett.

“She’s in good form and I think this is the right place for her.”

The Bet365 Old Rowley Trophy has £120,000 in prize-money and has attracted a top-class field.

The weights are headed by O’Brien’s Astronomer, who arrives on a five-timer.

Bell’s Artarmon has won four of his last five, while Beckett’s pair Breath Caught and Rock Eagle are others in top form.