Fjord raider runs at Newbury
Norwegian trainer Rune Haugen says he is relishing tackling Newbury's final Flat meeting of the year this Saturday with stable star Quarterback.
Kings Fete: Could be in opposition to Quarterback.
The richest race of the day at the track on Saturday is the £60,000 Group Three Worthington's OCSL (St Simon) Stakes, staged over a mile and a half.
Among the possible starters is Kings Fete (trained by Sir Michael Stoute), a dual Group Three scorer this season including victory in the Betfred Geoffrey Freer Stakes over a furlong and a half farther at Newbury in August.
But another dual Group Three winner among the entries is Quarterback, trained in Norway by Rune Haugen.
The four-year-old American Post colt was successful by five lengths on his latest start in the Stockholm Cup International over 12 furlongs at Bro Park in Sweden on September 11, adding to his earlier victory in the Scandinavian Open Championship, also staged over 12 furlongs, at Klampenborg, Denmark the previous month.
Quarterback has made two appearances so far in the UK, faring best when runner-up in the Listed James Seymour Stakes at Newmarket last October.
Haugen, who is based at Drammen in the Fjord region of Norway, commented on Monday: "Quarterback will be running at Newbury on Saturday and Jamie Spencer will ride. He will be travelling over tomorrow and should arrive at Newbury in the late afternoon.
"I have trained some very good horses over the years but it looks like with Quarterback that I have an international star.
"I have run him in six different countries in the last nine months so he is a real globetrotter. He started off his international campaign in Qatar in December, when Jamie Spencer rode him. The trip was only nine furlongs there which was a bit short for him.
"Saturday's race is over a mile and a half and I think Newbury will suit him perfectly as he is a really big galloping horse.
"The ground doesn't seem to matter to him. He ran a cracking race on fast ground in Dubai and won in Stockholm on good ground while he was second at Newmarket last year on soft ground.
"You can forget his run in between at Ovrevoll (Norway) as it was only nine furlongs and everything went wrong for him that day. His win at Stockholm last time came in a very fast time and he beat some good horses "He is still improving and I think he can make the frame at Newbury on Saturday. I have had one runner at Newbury before, Miyasaki, who was third in a Listed race in 2007."
Other contenders for the race include Western Hymn (John Gosden), third in the G1 Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot in June. His trainer could also be represented by the improving fillies Lady Of Camelot and The Black Princess.
Koora (Luca Cumani) won this race 12 months ago, while there are two Irish-trained contenders – Irish Derby third Stellar Mass (Jim Bolger) and Almela (Dermot Weld).