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Goldream bids for Royal Ascot debut

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ROYAL DATE: Goldream with the staff from Robert Cowell Racing ahead of his King's Stand defence at Royal Ascot on Tuesday.
ROYAL DATE: Goldream with the staff from Robert Cowell Racing ahead of his King's Stand defence at Royal Ascot on Tuesday.

Newmarket trainer Robert Cowell says big sprint hope Goldream is in excellent condition as he eyes a Royal Ascot repeat.

Cowell’s seven-year-old speed merchant will be bidding for back-to-back victories in the King’s Stand Stakes on the opening day of the Royal meeting on Tuesday.

“He really is in great shape, we have just been waiting for some nice ground,” said Cowell, whose charge missed the Temple Stakes at Haydock last month because of the soft ground.

“It’s a competitive race. Profitable has improved through the handicap ranks and has been impeccably placed by Clive Cox.

“He’s done pretty much what Goldream did last season, but we’ve done it before and would have a great chance against some progressive types.

“I know we’ve got a horse to go to war with. We are not going there to make up the numbers.”

The Bottisham Heath Stud handler illustrated why he is such a fine trainer of sprinters when Goldream landed him the King’s Stand for the second time in five years.

Back in 2011, it was Prohibit who provided Cowell with the unexpected headlines at Ascot when he prevailed in the same race.

Since that day, Cowell has been dubbed the ‘Sprint King’ with a string of big race successes to his name.

“You need to have a bit of luck and there’s no hiding place in this type of race,” admitted Cowell.

“It’s important you have a horse with a fair engine and a good jockey.

“We’ve won it twice before and the race has been very dear to me. Royal Ascot has given me some wonderful memories.”

Spirit Quartz will also line-up in the Group One for Cowell, who also has Prince of Lir running in the Norfolk Stakes on the Thursday and a number of interests in the Wokingham Handicap on the final day.

“Spirit Quartz ran a good race in the Palace House, but didn’t quite fire on all cylinders when he ran at Deauville. He looks back to normal now,” said Cowell.

The Queen Anne Stakes — a race which has been won by Frankie Dettori on no fewer than six occasions — is the curtain-raiser to the five-day festival, which sees nine Group One races.

Belardo, the winner of the Lockinge at Newbury, will carry the hopes of the Roger Varian stable.

Also on Tuesday, Hugo Palmer’s 2000 Guineas winner, Galileo Gold, and Charlie Appleby’s Emotionless are set to lock horns in the St James’ Palace Stakes.

The race has tended to attract the best three-year-old milers from around Europe and recent winners include Frankel, Mastercraftsman, Henrythenavigator, Azamour, Rock of Gibraltar and Giant’s Causeway.

A decision as to which race Cannock Chase will contest is expected to be made at the last minute.

The five-year-old currently holds entries in both the Prince of Wales’ Stakes, in which he finished seventh last year, on the Wednesday and the Hardwicke Stakes three days later.

The Sir Michael Stoute-trained Canadian International hero made a winning return to action last month when defying a penalty to land the Huxley Stakes at Chester.

Luca Cumani’s Mizzou and John Gosden’s Flying Officer will carry Newmarket hopes in the Group One Ascot Gold Cup on the Thursday.

A tilt at the Coronation Stakes on Friday week remains on the cards for the Gosden-trained French 1000 Guineas runner-up Nathra.