Montataire in the Ascendant

View from connections ahead of the 32Red Casino Stakes (registered as the Ascendant Stakes) at Haydock Park.

Montataire is 'obviously on a steep upward curve'

Montataire goes on trial with some lofty targets in the pipeline when he runs in the 32Red Casino Stakes at Haydock.

The Mark Johnston-trained juvenile has been busy this season and the Listed race better known as the Ascendant Stakes will be his eighth start of the campaign.

He is showing no signs of weariness, though, and has won four of his last five races, with his only defeat in that time coming behind a stable companion.

The Cape Cross colt holds an entry in the Royal Lodge later in the season, with the Racing Post Trophy also mentioned.

Charlie Johnston, the trainer's son and assistant, said: "He's done nothing but improve all season. His only defeat in his last five races has been by another one of ours, Bear Valley, in a Goodwood nursery.

"He's obviously on a steep upward curve and was very impressive last time out at Salisbury.

"We went there thinking he'd be involved at the business end, but if you'd have told us he's win by five lengths eased-down we might have struggled to believe it.

"He's the type of horse now that we've got to start thinking about races like the Royal Lodge and Racing Post Trophy so this looks a logical test."

Richard Hannon runs a promising type in Contrast, owned by Highclere Thoroughbred Racing.

Strongly fancied for his debut at Lingfield, he could finish only fourth of six, but obviously learned plenty from that experience, as next time out he bolted up at Haydock by three and a half lengths.

Writing on his website Hannon said: "Contrast was an impressive winner last time out here at Haydock.

"He showed plenty of improvement from his first start and looks like a nice horse in the making.

"This is a tougher test with some proven individuals but I think he can run a nice race."

Another last time out winner is Simon Crisford's Red Ensign, who runs in the Sheikh Obaid colours carried with great distinction by Postponed.

After a very promising debut behind a smart type in Escobar the son of sire-of-the-moment Dark Angel made no mistake when winning at Kempton.

"This is a step up in class, but we hope he's up to it," said Crisford.

"It was a nice run first time and then he won at odds-on at Kempton. He's in good form and we'll see if he's up to it."

There are two Frankel colts in the race who both looked promising earlier in the season but have not progressed as might have been expected in Johnston's Frankuus and John Gosden's Cunco, the first Frankel to make the track.

Marco Botti's Bahamas was a debut winner and not beaten far in a decent race at Ascot last time out, while Tom Dascombe's Star Of Rory won his only start to date.

Andrew Balding runs Drochaid, who needed four runs to break his maiden.

Read More at Sporting Life

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