sport

Eagle flying at home

Robert Cowell is looking forward to running Zain Eagle in Saturday’s John Smith’s Cup at York after he impressed in his recent homework.

Cowell, based just outside Newmarket at Six Mile Bottom, is also planning to saddle a former Coolmore Nunthorpe winner and Knavesmire favourite, Kingsgate Native, in the Listed sprint on the day, the John Smith's City Wall Stakes.

He confirmed: \"Both Zain Eagle and Kingsgate Native look like they will definitely run provided the ground stays on the fast side.\"

Zain Eagle is a smart performer, rated 95, and last year won a hot handicap at Doncaster's St Leger meeting. The four-year-old has since joined Cowell's string and made a promising seasonal reappearance when fourth of 11 at Kempton over a mile and three furlongs. He showed up well on that occasion before flattening out over a trip that his trainer feels probably stretched his stamina.

Cowell said: \"Kempton really was a blow-away-the-cobwebs. It was a mile and three...probably a tad too far for him. A mile and a quarter is about his trip. But he led all the way down to the furlong pole.\"

\"He has come on for that a lot and has been waiting for the ground, really. We were going to run at Newmarket last week, but unfortunately they had a lot of rain. He really is in super condition. His last piece of work was very, very good and he represents a good opportunity for us.\"

\"I don't have many horses that can work with him because he is quick but he is relentless - a relentless galloper. He doesn't have many miles on the clock and he is a pretty professional type of horse. Whether he is where he needs to be in the handicap, we'll see.\"

\"To win a race like (the John Smith's Cup), you need to be well handicapped or a very good horse. Let's hope he is either or both.\"

John Quinn's Tahira could also take her chance in the line-up.

She has not been blessed with the best of fortune in both her starts so far this campaign but connections of the filly report the German import to be approaching prime condition.

"She seems to be coming to the boil nicely and we're looking forward to running her," Quinn's son and assistant Sean told At The Races.

"She was unlucky last time at the Knavesmire (when seventh to Clever Cookie). She didn't get the best of runs at Chester either (when second to Running Deer).

"She hasn't enjoyed the best of luck, but I've no doubt she's filly that will win a big race at some stage."

Cowell's other charge Kingsgate Native ran a good race to finish second to Extortionist in a Group 3 over five furlongs at Sandown on Saturday. The 2007 Coolmore Nunthorpe hero is set for a swift return to action with the John Smith's City Walls Stakes on his agenda.

Cowell said: \"Kingsgate Native showed he is great condition, having finished second the other day at Sandown.\"

\"He is still a fresh horse this year and I can see him running a real good race (at York). He likes the course and was a good fifth in the Nunthorpe last year.

"He is dropping down to a Listed race, which is the first time he's done that for a long time, so he should be one of the favourites I would have thought.\"