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Connections confident Naqeeb has progressed enough to ask Gold Cup question

Connections confident Naqeeb has progressed enough to ask Gold Cup question
Connections confident Naqeeb has progressed enough to ask Gold Cup question

Naqeeb has a long way to go to emulate his half-brothers Baaeed and Hukum but there is every chance he can develop into a smart performer this season ahead of his reappearance in Friday’s William Hill Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket.

While Baaeed never raced beyond 10 furlongs in establishing himself as the best of his generation, Hukum did win over a mile and three-quarters, giving hope Naqeeb could prove himself over two miles this season.

He has been entered in the Gold Cup at Ascot but starts out over a mile and a half and, having been unraced at two and only had six races in his life, the William Haggas-trained four-year-old is entitled to have plenty of progression in him.

“He was always a horse that was physically going to improve as he got older,” said Angus Gold, racing manager for owners Shadwell.

“We’ve gelded him since last year, they are happy with him at home and it looks a good place to start.

“He will get further in due course, but we just want to get him back on track and see where we are.

“We’ve put him in the Gold Cup in case he does stay. At this stage there is nothing to say he will (stay that far), but he stayed a mile and six last year, he’s a lovely, galloping horse and progressive, so we need to start him and he’ll give us a clue which way to go with him.”

Having won a £100,000 handicap under a big weight, Naqeeb made his last appearance in a Listed race but, despite going off favourite, never looked happy in finishing third.

Naqeeb, right, is pencilled in for the Gold Cup next month (Tim Goode/PA)

Gold said: “His last run may have just been at the end of a long season, but he also hung badly that day at Ascot and we never found out why. He clearly didn’t run his race though, so we’ll count that one out and start again fresh.”

Harry Charlton’s Time Lock was a Group Three winner last season and ended up running on Champions Day behind Poptronic.

A course and distance winner, she hails from a yard that has started the season well. Ryan Moore has been booked to ride.

“She obviously likes Newmarket, she’s won there twice, so she handles the track and hopefully the weather will stay good as she likes a bit of good ground,” said Barry Mahon of owners Juddmonte.

“She’s fit and well and appears to be in good form, so we’re hopeful. She’s a Group Three winner so we’re looking to take the next step and this looks a nice opportunity.

Time Lock has already won twice at Newmarket
Time Lock has already won twice at Newmarket (Tim Goode/PA)

“Harry has had the plan since February that this is where he was starting. She’s taking on good, solid, older horses, but there doesn’t look to be an outstanding individual in it.”

Charlie Appleby runs Great Voltigeur second Castle Way and King Of Conquest and told the Godolphin website of his pair: “King Of Conquest is fairly exposed as a five-year-old but he is a solid horse who always runs his race.

“Castle Way definitely needed the run in the Dubai City Of Gold and has come forward significantly for it, while the ground at Newmarket will suit. He showed some decent form as a three-year-old and goes into this in good order with that run under his belt. I hope we have two live players.”

Astro King represents Daniel and Claire Kubler while Outbox for Archie Watson and Hollie Doyle completes the field.

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