William Haggas may be in a rich vein of form at present, yet that has not stopped him warning punters about the fitness of Addeybb as he makes his seasonal debut in the Coral Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown on Thursday evening.
The Pivotal gelding, winner of three Group Ones in Australia as well as the 2020 Champion Stakes at Ascot, has taken time to come to hand following a hock infection, which means he will be returning from a seven-month absence.
The eight-year-old, who will be ridden by Tom Marquand, takes on five rivals in a strong renewal of the 10-furlong Group Three contest, with Haggas hoping he can build upon the race and book his ticket for Royal Ascot.
“He is a good horse and he has taken a bit of getting fit,” said Haggas. “He needs this race in preparation for Ascot, but he is as fit as we can get him without killing him.
“I just want to see a bit of spark from him. He loves racing and it is a decent race.”
His rivals include the John and Thady Gosden-trained Mostahdaf, who opened his four-year-old campaign with success in the Group Three Gordon Richards Stakes over the same course and distance, and Sir Michael Stoute’s Bay Bridge, who is unbeaten in his last four starts and also makes his seasonal bow.
Haggas continued: “There are two very smart horses against him and I guess we will all be in the same boat. John’s horse has had a run but he has a 3lb penalty.
“The other horse is a typical Sir Michael improver and he will be very hard to beat as well.
“But as long as Addeybb runs a good race and looks like he still has plenty of ability, I will be happy.”
Thady Gosden says Mostahdaf, the mount of Jim Crowley, has taken his pipe-opener well, and hopes he will be able to concede 3lb to main market rivals Addeybb and Bay Bridge.
He said: “He had done well since he won the Gordon Richards. He won that well enough on the same track. He does carry a 3lb penalty in what is a very competitive Brigadier Gerard, as Addeyeb, as we know, is a good horse with a serious record.
“Mostahdaf is a horse with a very good action and obviously won’t want any extremes of ground, so the ground should not be a concern.
“We hope he will run nicely and not find any trouble in running which can sometimes happen at Sandown.”
After an unbeaten three-year-old campaign, Stoute hopes Bay Bridge can continue to climb the latter on his first start since winning the James Seymour Stakes over a similar trip at Newmarket in October.
“He is climbing into Group Class,” said Stoute. “It is a very tough contest. He will run well but he has been off a long time and it will just put an edge on him.
“I’m not worried about the ground and we don’t need any rain. He will take it soft and it will be good to firm at Sandown I think, which will be fine for him.”
Anything else is a bonus for Glitters
Nine-year-old Lord Glitters shoulders top weight of 9st 7lb, having landed the valuable Group Two Singspiel Stakes at Meydan in February, and is asked to concede 5lb to both Addeybb and Bay Bridge.
Winner of 10 of his 42 races, the globetrotting grey has amassed over £2.2 million in prize money and his trainer, David O’Meara, says anything he does now is a bonus.
“Life is gong to be pretty tough for him for a bit with that penalty for winning the Singspiel Stakes, the Group Two in Dubai,” said O’Meara.
“He has had a brilliant winter and he won the Bahrain International Trophy as well as the Singspiel.
“For all we have a little moan about the penalty, he has won a lot of money this winter and we have to get him started somewhere.
“I didn’t think he was quite up to the Queen Anne this year as he is getting on and he probably wants nine or 10 furlongs nowadays. So, we’ll start here.
“He feels great at home and he seems in good form – he is working well, but it just seems a big ask to give that weight away to some good horses.”
Should all go well for Lord Glitters at Sandown, O’Meara could stay closer to home for his next start.
“There are a couple of races at York – the York Stakes and the Strensall in August,” said O’Meara. “These are the type of races we will look at.
“He has won over £2million in prize money and I’m not sure there are too many horses racing at the moment who have done that.”
Though Saeed bin Suroor is likely heading to Ripon to watch exciting prospect Shining Blue run in a novice race, he will have more than one eye on Dubai Future and Passion And Glory, who round out the field.
Dubai Future has plenty to find with Lord Glitters on his run in the Bahrain International Trophy, but was not disgraced despite being unplaced in the Group One Dubai Sheema Classic when last seen in March.
Passion And Glory has similarly not had a run since finishing a close-up fifth to Stay Foolish in the Dubai Gold Cup and drops back in trip after that run in the two-mile Group Two contest at Meydan.
“It is a very tough race with some very good horses,” said Bin Suroor. “This will be a preparation to get them to get them ready for Royal Ascot.
“Dubai Future has a Hardwicke Stakes entry, but I want to see them both run well, otherwise I won’t run them at Ascot. They have both had a couple of months’ break after running in Meydan.
“The ground will be fine with them and the the horses are running well.”