sport

Cannock up for the Cup

Sir Michael Stoute holds strong claims in the London Gold Cup at Newbury with Cannock Chase.

Stoute has been represented in the race ever year since apart from 2012 and he has saddled several beaten favourites, including last year's odds-on jolly Hillstar who went on to win the King Edward VII at Royal Ascot.

While the race is down on prize money from what it once was, the race 12 months ago has shown it still attracts top-class three-year-olds.

In 2011 Al Kazeem won and went on to claim three Group Ones, while in 2010 a future Melbourne Cup winner beat a subsequent Dubai World Cup winner as Green Moon edged out Monterosso.

Cannock Chase is owned by Saeed Suhail and after finishing second on his debut in October, he bolted up at Windsor in April.

"I was quite impressed with how he won first time up," said Bruce Raymond, Suhail's racing manager.

"Being trained by Sir Michael, you would expect substantial improvement to be forthcoming.

"As Sir Michael doesn't gallop them like that at home, though, I can't tell you that he has shown improvement on the gallops

"He's on the way up, there's no doubt about that, but there are some nice handicappers in this - some might be better than handicappers.

"He should be going forward, though."

There is Irish interest in the shape of Paul Deegan's Aussie Valentine, fifth behind Irish Guineas-bound Obliterator on his debut and winner of his next two outings.

"He's a big, imposing, scopey, progressive type," said Deegan.

"He's improving all the time but he's the sort that will be even better with another year on his back.

"I feel he'll be better still for going up in trip again but there look to be three or four very nice types in this, there usually is.

"He's a lovely horse but he's still a long way from the finished article.

"I think he'd be fairly versatile with regard to the ground."

Richard Hannon's Windshear is another promising type who won on his debut last year, was second to John Gosden's Cloudscape first time out this year and then bolted up at Sandown.

However, he has been hit hard by the handicapper for that success.

"Windshear goes for the London Gold Cup. He was second in a hot handicap at Newmarket and then won off the same mark at Sandown, but he has been hiked him up 11lb for those two runs, so he will need to up his game," Hannon told his website, www.richardhannonracing.co.uk.