Stoute targets Hardwicke joy
Nothing gets the Royal Ascot crowd going like a winner for the Queen, and Dartmouth is aiming to repeat his victory of 12 months ago in the Hardwicke Stakes.
Scenes of Her Majesty cheering home her winners propels racing from the back pages to the front, but Dartmouth's trainer Sir Michael Stoute insists he never feels any added pressure.
Stoute is unlikely to ever top winning the 2013 Gold Cup for the Queen, but a second Hardwicke triumph for the Dubawi entire would be some achievement.
The Freemason Lodge handler has won the race a record-breaking 10 times, and his five-year-old is now aiming to replicate former Stoute inmates Rock Hopper and Maraahel, who are both dual Hardwicke heroes.
Dartmouth arrives off the back of a narrow win in the Yorkshire Cup where he ran over a mile and three-quarters for the first time.
Stoute said: "We've been able to have a Royal winner on a number of occasions, but there's no pressure.
"He's in good shape and he knows his way around the track.
"He loves the track – he's solid."
Stoute is also represented by Across The Stars, who won the King Edward VII Stakes at this meeting last year but was way below form on his reappearance in a Group Three at Newbury last month.
Wings Of Desire was fourth in last season's Derby and second in the King George – arguably the best form on offer – but John Gosden's four-year-old has not been in action since he disappointed in the Juddmonte International at York last August.
Gosden also runs Western Hymn and Muntahaa, while Aidan O'Brien saddles Idaho, a long way behind his full-brother Highland Reel in the Coronation Cup on his sole start this season.
My Dream Boat, shock winner of the Prince of Wales's Stakes last year, Second Step and Dal Harraild are others in the mix.
Roger Varian runs Barsanti, not far behind Second Step at Goodwood last time.
The Newmarket handler told www.varianstable.com: "Barsanti produced his usual gallant performance when running third on his reappearance at Goodwood and I feel he has stepped forward for the run.
"This is a big ask from a wide draw, but he might not have finished improving just yet."
Saeed bin Suroor's Prize Money beat Postponed in Dubai and also did well to be fourth in the Sheema Classic, but he ran no race in the Coronation Cup.
"Prize Money ran well out in Dubai, winning the Dubai City Of Gold, but was disappointing on his latest start in the Coronation Cup," Bin Suroor told www.godolphin.com.
"He came out of that race in good form and his last piece of work went well.
"I am looking for a better run from him."
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