Norway’s Quarterback takes aim
Views from connections ahead of the Worthington's OCSL Stakes at Newbury on Saturday.
Saeed bin Suroor: Trains Memorial Day
An international running of the Worthington's OCSL Stakes at Newbury is in store with Norwegian raider Quarterback using Berkshire as the latest stop for his world tour.
Trained by Rune Haugen, Quarterback finished second in a Newmarket Listed race last October and has since been to Qatar, Dubai, Royal Ascot and Sweden.
"I have trained some very good horses over the years, but it looks like with Quarterback that I have an international star," said Haugen.
"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.
"My horse has won two of his last three starts, both of which have come at Group Three level. 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."
Another interesting contender is Black Night, who is trained in Jersey by James Moon and won three times at Les Landes racecourse in 2016.
Sir Michael Stoute's Kings Fete is giving weight to all due to his course and distance win in the Geoffrey Freer.
Having missed all of last season after sustaining an injury in the 2014 St Leger, he has come back as good as ever.
"He's done very well this season considering how long he was out," said Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to owner Khalid Abdullah.
"He's a winner over the course and distance already and we just hope it's not too soft, which I don't think it will be.
"I must confess that my reading of Norwegian form is not what it was, though.
"As for what we'll do with him next, I'm not sure. Given he's been relatively busy after a long time off, I'm not sure if we'd go abroad with him."
Saeed bin Suroor's lightly-raced Memorial Day was an eight-length winner at Pontefract on his return but faces a steep rise in class.
"Memorial Day won nicely last time out and has been working well," said Bin Suroor.
"Stepping back up in distance should be no problem and he goes into this race in good form."
Godolphin's Charlie Appleby is represented by Frontiersman and told www.godolphin.com: "Moving up to a mile and a half saw further improvement from Frontiersman on his latest start and we feel that he deserves another rise in class.
"He has won at Newbury before and returns to the course in good order."
Luca Cumani has had to be patient with last year's winner Koora through the dry spell, but she drops in class having taken on the likes of Minding and Seventh Heaven recently.
"Koora is in good form. She hasn't run for a while because every race she has been entered for, the ground has not been suitable for her," said Cumani.
"We are looking forward to running her at Newbury on Saturday, on ground which should hopefully have a bit of give in it.
"It has been unfortunate that we have had a very dry summer and autumn so we have not been able to run her anywhere. But she is fresh, well and goes to Newbury in good form."
Ralph Beckett's Mountain Bell, Hugo Palmer's Twitch and David Simcock's Sumbal are others to note.