Andrew Balding is hoping Beat The Bank can defy a 3lb penalty for last year’s success as he goes for a repeat in the Fred Cowley MBE Memorial Summer Mile at Ascot.
The classy performer defeated Lord Glitters by a neck to lift the Group Two last July, and went down to that rival by the same margin in the Queen Anne Stakes at the Royal meeting on his latest start.
“It is all systems go for the Summer Mile again for Beat The Bank,” said the Kingsclere trainer.
“We are very happy with him, although he will have to do a little bit more because he has a 3lb penalty for winning the race last year.
“He ran a hell of a race in the Queen Anne and I would have settled for that beforehand, given his run in the Lockinge.
“We know he goes on the round course at Ascot, having won the race last year, so it is just a case of keeping our fingers crossed.”
Matterhorn was only 10th in the Queen Anne, but showed his true colours when making all to beat New Graduate in the Listed Midsummer Stakes at Windsor two weeks ago to register his fifth win of the year.
Connections of the Mark Johnston-trained four-year-old expect him to be in the mix again.
“He’s had a fantastic year already,” said Charlie Johnston, assistant to his father.
“He bounced straight back to form at Windsor last time, and this is an obvious next step.
“He came up a little bit short in the Queen Anne. Beat The Bank and Zaaki set a good standard, but conditions should be spot on for him. He’s an admirable, consistent horse and you can be sure he’ll run his race.”
Eve Johnson Houghton is just praying Accidental Agent will consent to come out of the stalls and not refuse to race as he did at the Royal meeting in the Queen Anne.
Accidental Agent had won that race in 2018 and gone to the Berkshire track on the back of a fine third in the Lockinge on his seasonal debut.
It remains a mystery why the experienced five-year-old entire behaved in that manner, and Johnson Houghton has her fingers crossed there is no repeat.
“We’re just trying to get him back on track. If he comes out of the stalls then he’s got an opportunity,” said the Blewbury handler.
“He’s been as good as gold, so we just have to assume he won’t do it again.”
Saeed bin Suroor hopes Dream Castle can transfer his form from the gallops on to the racetrack and leave behind his lacklustre effort in the Queen Anne Stakes.
Bin Suroor said: “We have been disappointed with him in his last two runs, but he is working well in the mornings.
“We brought him to the watered gallop in Newmarket last time, and he seemed in good form. We will give him a chance and see how he goes.
“He had a foot problem after his last race in Dubai. He seems fine now, but he has not shown us what he was showing us in Dubai.
“I don’t think the penalty is a problem, but we need to see him run well. We are not seeing what he does in the morning at the races.”
Of the remaining opposition, David O’Meara’s Suedois was a close third in this race 12 months ago while the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Zaaki steps up in grade after winning Listed and Group Three contests in his two starts this season.
Tip Two Win, Wadlisafa and Awesometank make up what looks a fascinating renewal.
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