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No July Cup, but big sprints will come into focus for Lake Forest

No July Cup, but big sprints will come into focus for Lake Forest
No July Cup, but big sprints will come into focus for Lake Forest

Connections of Lake Forest are hopeful they have a top sprinter on their hands after his fine second in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot.

Owned by Brighton & Hove Albion supremo Tony Bloom and Ian McAleavy, the son of No Nay Never won the Gimcrack Stakes as a juvenile but had not been seen since finishing down the field in the Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket.

Having missed an intended tune-up at Haydock on account of soft ground, the William Haggas-trained colt ran a race run full of promise on his return to action, faring best behind Kevin Ryan’s impressive winner Inisherin.

“We wanted to try to get a prep run into him, but we didn’t want to run him on soft ground because his ideal conditions are six furlongs and quick ground,” said Bloom’s racing manager Sean Graham.

“We had a race at Haydock in mind, but the ground up there was soft so we missed the prep run and just went straight to Ascot.

“He ran very very well and Tom Marquand gave him the perfect ride, he got the very best out of the horse with the way he needs to be ridden. We were very pleased.

“If you finish second at Royal Ascot, a bit of you feels disappointed you didn’t win the race, but then the horse has run an absolute blinder and you are delighted going forward.

“It will be the plan to campaign him as a top-level sprinter and hopefully he will be able to hold his own in those races.

“Obviously the Commonwealth Cup is only open to three-year-olds and later in the season he is going to have to take the jump up and take on older horses and that is when things will get a bit more difficult.”

The July Cup has been mooted as a potential next port of call for both Inisherin and Clive Cox’s Commonwealth Cup third Jasour, but Lake Forest will not join his Ascot rivals in action during Newmarket’s July Festival having not been handed an entry and no plan to supplement.

Instead his team are minded to feel their way through the sprint programme book and search for ideal conditions in a bid to turn their Ascot silver medal to gold.

Graham continued: “I did ask William on Friday, if the horse ran well, where would we go next? William said the Commonwealth Cup was the main focus and he hadn’t even looked ahead.

“Even if we had something in mind, we have to wait to see how the horse comes out of the race before deciding how soon we run him again.

“He ran second in the July Stakes, but his other two runs at Newmarket were disappointing. He got beat at odds-on in a novice race and then he ran poorly in the Middle Park. I had a chat with William going way back, and having watched back his videos, I said that I don’t actually think the horse likes Newmarket.

“So I don’t think the July Cup would be on the agenda for him and that was the reason he wasn’t entered in it. His ideal conditions are six furlongs, quick ground and a flat track and that’s what we will be looking for. Those final decisions are left to William.

“He’s in great hands and it could be the case he has a few more races this year and if he strengthens up we could always keep him in training next year.

“Nothing has been decided yet, but he is a great horse to look forward to. He’s finished second in a Group One on his only start so far at three and with a bit of improvement and progression, you would like to think he can go a bit closer next time.”

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