Dartmouth primed for Woodbine
Dartmouth bids to provide Sir Michael Stoute with his fourth victory in the Pattison Canadian International at Woodbine on Sunday.
Dartmouth: Woodbine hopeful
The master of Freemason Lodge first struck gold in the mile-and-a-half Group One with Singspiel in 1996 and has saddled the last two winners in Hillstar and Cannock Chase respectively.
This year's year's representative brings extra grandeur to proceedings as he becomes the Queen's first ever runner in Canada.
Dartmouth brought the house down when landing the Hardwicke Stakes in June, providing the reigning monarch with a Royal Ascot victory in the year of her 90th birthday.
He finished a creditable third in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes on his next start and was last seen being narrowly denied in the Dubai Duty Free Legacy Cup at Newbury on his return from a two-month break.
Stoute's assistant Kerry Jones travelled across the Atlantic with the four-year-old and is delighted with how he has settled into his new surroundings.
"He just looks so well. We knew he had a little bit to work on and needed the run at Newbury," said Jones.
"After Ascot we gave him a little break and put some condition on him. The ground (at Newbury) was very soft and we were so pleased with how he ran. By the looks of it, he has come on tremendously.
"He will love this faster ground and you can sit anywhere (in the race) and do anything with him.
"I wouldn't say we are over-confident, but we are not here to sightsee. We're here to race.
"Sir Michael knows what type of horse he wants to bring out here and we've made stepping stones to these races."
On saddling a runner for the Queen, Jones told www.thoroughbreddailynews.com: "I'm very proud to represent her. She's a great ambassador for the sport and knows her horses.
"There can be pressure, but we train the horses the same and you try to put it in the back of your mind.
"We treat them like any other owner's horses, but sometimes at the end of the day we do kind of think 'Oh, please win for The Queen', of course."
Dartmouth will be ridden by William Buick for the first time, with Ryan Moore getting the leg up on the Aidan O'Brien-trained Idaho.
The three-year-old unseated his rider when odds-on for last month's St Leger at Doncaster and bids to provide his trainer with a second Canadian International following Joshua Tree's triumph in 2010.
O'Brien's travelling head lad, Kieran Murphy, said: "He's a well-balanced horse. You can ride him any way you want."
Andreas Wohler's German challenger Protectionist and Francis-Henri Graffard's French raider Erupt also feature in a nine-strong field.
There is also a strong European representation in the E. P. Taylor Stakes.
O'Brien and Moore combine with Group Three winner Best In The World, while Roger Varian's Nezwaah and Swiss Range from John Gosden's stable are also in contention for a race in which the raiding party have excelled in recent years.
A notable absentee from the final field of 13 is the Stoute-trained Diploma, who was set to be a second runner on the card for the Queen.
She made the journey to Canada with Dartmouth, but after not taking the journey as well, connections decided against letting the daughter of Dubawi line up.
Man On The Spot Verdicts
8.48 – Nearctic Stakes
Mick Channon runs the Group 3 winner Divine and she's not out of this if at her best. Full Mast has the best recent form with a third to the high-class Tepin in Grade 1 company but that was over a mile and it remains to be seen how Bill Mott's colt fares now sprinting. PASSION FOR ACTION was beaten less than a length when fourth in last year's renewal and won a Grade 2 sprint over track and trip in July. He's closely matched with the three-year-old Conquest Enforcer on more recent form but may just edge this. Stacked Deck has a shout but also has a bit to find with the selection.
9.56 – E.P Taylor Stakes
Swiss Range is looking to bounce back for John Gosden having been well beaten by Minding in the Nassau back in July. She is preferred to Roger Varian's Nezwaah though the Ballydoyle filly and Group 3 winner Best In The World could go well. But RAINHA DA BATERIA won a Grade 2 over 1m1f here for Chad Brown last month when beating last year's fourth Strut The Course. Narrowly beaten at the highest level before that, she makes more appeal than stablemate Guapaza, who is closely matched with Roger Charlton's former charge Suffused on recent running. Al's Gal was placed in the Beverley D at Arlington earlier and could go well at a price.
10.40 – Pattison Canadian International
Great Voltigeur winner IDAHO has classic form and had yet to unleash a challenge when stumbling and unseating in the St Leger at Doncaster last month – compensation awaits in this. He's receiving 7lb from Dartmouth, who attempts to land a third straight win in this for Sir Michael Stoute after the victories of Cannock Chase and Hillstar. He has the beating of French raider Erupt on form at Ascot but Protectionist arrives in fine fettle after landing a Group 1 in Germany and Andrea Atzeni picks up the ride. The home challengers are closely matched with less than a length separating The Pizza Man, Wake Forest and World Approval when the former won a course and distance trial last month.
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