Ascot dreams for Snail team
Brian The Snail attempts to stretch his unbeaten record to four in the British Stallion Studs EBF Westow Stakes at York on Thursday.
Bought by Godolphin after winning his first two races at Pontefract and Catterick last year, he made no mistake on his reappearance in handicap company back at the first-named venue in April.
Life will get harder now Brian The Snail steps up in class, but the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot is his mid-season target as he drops back down to five furlongs.
Trainer Richard Fahey said: "Rain helped me to make the decision to declare Brian The Snail.
"I wouldn't have wanted to run him over five furlongs on fast ground. The slower ground will help him.
"We like him a lot. It's another stepping stone for him – the next level.
"He won a handicap at Pontefract last month, carrying a big weight and did it well."
John Gosden's Ardad must carry a penalty having won the Flying Childers last season.
After that he tackled his elders in the Prix de l'Abbaye and was not disgraced finishing four lengths behind Marsha.
Owner Abdullah Saeed Al Naboodah's racing manager Bruce Raymond said: "It was worth a punt in the Abbaye, getting all the weight as a two-year-old.
"He didn't get the clearest of runs that day but he wasn't disgraced and he was taking on the best there is.
"Five furlongs is definitely his trip, we worked that out last season, and he should be fine on the softer ground as it was soft when he won the Windsor Castle.
"When he won the Flying Childers, Frankie (Dettori) jumped off and said the ground was quick enough that day, so we think he's crying out for the softer ground, to be honest."
Raymond also looks after the interests of Sheikh Juma Dalmook Al Maktoum, who runs Kyllang Rock, trained by James Tate and a winner at Nottingham on his seasonal return.
"He will definitely like the ground," said Raymond.
"The one worry with him might be that on his only other run at York he disappointed but we think he's going to be a smart sprinter.
"We like him a lot, and even though this is tougher we think he'll run well."
Jumira Bridge has won his two starts this season since dropping in trip, but Roger Varian harbours doubts about how he will handle the ground.
The Newmarket handler told www.varianstable.com: "A fast five furlongs should suit him, although the ground is an unknown."
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