Lockheed targets Autumn success
View from connections ahead of the Dubai 100 Autumn Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday.
Lockheed (grey) will appreciate the ground
The prospect of fast ground has encouraged William Haggas to go to the well once more with his talented juvenile Lockheed in the Dubai 100 Autumn Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday.
Runner-up to Seven Heavens on his Ascot debut, the Exceed And Excel colt went one better at Goodwood before finishing a close third in the Acomb Stakes at York.
Haggas then sent his youngster to Ireland for a tilt at Group One glory in the National Stakes and he performed admirably in defeat once more to pick up minor honours behind Dewhurst favourite Churchill.
The Newmarket handler had originally planned to give his charge a winter break following his Curragh effort, but with conditions unseasonably quick on the Rowley Mile, he returns to action.
Haggas is hoping his charge can make the most of having his sights lowered slightly.
"He ran well in Ireland on ground that was a little bit too slow for him," said the trainer.
"I nearly put him away, but the ground has stayed quick and this is the right race for him. He should run well."
The Simon Crisford-trained Rodaini stretched his unbeaten record to four when landing the Listed Flying Scotsman Stakes at Doncaster last month and now tests the water in Group-race company.
Crisford said: "This is another step up for him and we'll see how he goes. He's answered every question so far, but this is obviously a harder question.
"He's in good form and we've been very happy with home. The ground and everything is fine, so we'll see what happens."
Zainhom is an interesting contender for Sir Michael Stoute and Paul Hanagan.
The Hamdan Al Maktoum-owned juvenile shaped with promise when third on his introduction at Leicester and showed the benefit of that experience when scoring handsomely at York last month.
The owner's racing manager Angus Gold said: "He progressed well from his first run to his second run and we're hoping for more of the same.
"He's a big, raw horse and very much a work in progress, but Sir Michael has been happy with him since York and he is going the right way, physically.
"This is the next step for him and we'll see whether he can take it. Although he's a big horse, I don't think quicker ground will bother him."
The sole Irish challenger in the 10-strong field is The Anvil.
Aidan O'Brien's raider remains a maiden after three starts, but has strong claims on the form of his close second to Best Of Days in the Royal Lodge Stakes here a fortnight ago.
Other contenders include Mark Johnston's four-times winner Montataire, who was sixth in the Royal Lodge, and Roger Varian's Yarmouth scorer Solomon's Bay.
The Newmarket handler said of the latter on www.varianstable.com: "Solomon's Bay won his maiden at Yarmouth in good style and that race is working out OK.
"He has plenty of stamina on the dam's side, so the step up in trip should suit.
"I hope he is able to show himself as a stakes performer in the making, for all this is a steep rise in class. I suspect this is a good renewal of the race as well."