Awtaad team full of faith

(Healy Racing Photos) Connections of Awtaad are keeping their fingers crossed the Irish 2,000 Guineas hero will bounce back to form this autumn.

Kevin Prendergast's star colt saw off Newmarket Guineas winner Galileo Gold when claiming Classic glory at the Curragh in May and while the tables were turned in the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot, the son of Cape Cross still performed admirably to finish a close third.

However, while Ascot one-two Galileo Gold and The Gurkha fought out a thrilling finish to the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood last month, Awtaad trailed home a well-beaten eighth to leave him with something to prove.

Angus Gold, owner Hamdan Al Maktoum's racing manager, said: "Chris Hayes was adamant that we rode him the wrong way last time. In his races in Ireland earlier in the year, he liked to build up into it – he won the (Irish) Guineas like that.

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"This time we rode him much more on the pace – Sheikh Hamdan was concerned about Ascot where we sat a bit far back in the ground on the day – and Chris' first impression was it's definitely not the right way to ride him.

"Even so, he just felt he cut out a bit quick, so we're just doing a few tests and checking the horse over. We know he's a much better horse than that."

Awtaad could get his shot at redemption in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on October 15.

"The way he travelled at the Curragh when he won the Guineas showed everyone what he was capable of and we didn't see that at Goodwood," Gold said.

"He could go for the QEII at Ascot and I know Kevin Prendergast feels he would prefer easier ground.

"I'm sure we haven't seen the best of him the last twice."


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