Candy sweet on Limato
Henry Candy believes Limato is physically and mentally in peak condition ahead of his bid for Royal Ascot glory in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes on Saturday.
The five-year-old was a stunning winner of the July Cup at Newmarket last summer and doubled his Group One tally in the Prix de la Foret at Chantilly in the autumn.
However, he lines up in Berkshire with something to prove after a disappointing effort on rain-softened ground in the Al Quoz Sprint at Meydan three months ago.
Candy admits it has taken Limato a long time to recover from his exertions in Dubai.
The Wantage handler said: "Hopefully it will still be good, fast ground on Saturday. If we don't get too much rain it should be perfect.
"I've never seen him more depressed than when he got home from Dubai.
"I was surprised how much it did affect him. We had to force him a lot to get him as near fit as we could for World Cup night, then the ground was atrocious.
"He couldn't get any purchase on it and he pulled a lot of muscles and I think that is what got to him.
"It has just been a case of giving him plenty of time. It has taken us a long time to get him back to his old self, but he seems to be there now.
"He is full of cheek and full of fun and he is working well, so I'm happy."
William Haggas is expecting a bold show from Duke of York Stakes winner Tasleet.
The Newmarket handler said: "He'd struggled on soft ground as a two-year-old so if anybody listened to me before he went to York I sadly put them off.
"I'd always tried to avoid it (soft ground), but he looked to relish it at York.
"Whether the cheekpieces had something to do with it, which is very possible, and he'll have them again, he looked quite a good hand.
"I wouldn't mind a bit of give, but I think the drop back in trip suited him more.
"He had a bad injury which took an age to recover from last year. It was a shame to miss the summer having won the Greenham.
"He's a lightly-raced four-year-old and I think there's more to come."
The Charlie Hills-trained Magical Memory was a close-up fourth when favourite for last year's Diamond Jubilee and finished runner-up in the Duke of York on his seasonal reappearance.
Sam Hoskins, racing manager for the owners Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds, said: "Charlie is very happy with the horse and I think we've got to be delighted with the draw in stall 18.
"It's sad Frankie (Dettori) is injured and can't ride as he knows the horse so well, but James Doyle is a great substitute and we're all really looking forward to the race.
"He ran a cracker in the race last year to be beaten only half a length and we were really happy with his reappearance at York.
"Hopefully he should get much closer to Tasleet and hopefully that will be good enough to put him right in the mix.
"We're cautiously optimistic. It looks like we're drawn on the right side and hopefully we're in with a shout."
Other contenders for the home team include James Fanshawe's The Tin Man and the Dean Ivory-trained Librisa Breeze.
The international challenge includes French raider The Right Man, winner of the Al Quoz Sprint, and Long On Value, trained in America by Bill Mott.
Mott's son and assistant, Riley, said: "Since we've brought him back in distance he's been coming from well off the pace in his races.
"With him it's just a matter of getting him relaxed, whether he is up close or further back to allow him to find his stride."
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