sport

Hannon team chase July Stakes

View from connections ahead of Thursday's Portland Place Properties July Stakes at Newmarket.

The trainer's father Richard snr won three of the last four runnings of the juvenile Group Two event with Libranno, Alhebayeb and Anjaal, and stable jockey Richard Hughes has picked Ivawood.

A son of Zebedee, Ivawood was a hot favourite for his debut at Sandown last month and landed the odds in highly encouraging fashion.

Dougal, unsurprisingly another son of Zebedee with owner Julie Wood aiming to give many of her more promising two-year-olds The Magic Roundabout-themed names, lends support after showing solid early-season form.

"The July Stakes has been a lucky race for us, and we have two decent colts going there this year in Ivawood and Dougal," the trainer told www.richardhannonracing.co.uk.

"We have always been excited about Ivawood, and it was no surprise when he won so impressively first time out at Sandown.

"He quickened up like an above-average performer, and he looked as if he already wanted this sixth furlong, so, hopefully, he'll take the step up in class in his stride.

"Dougal is also taking a big jump in grade, but we were planning to run him in the Coventry until he scoped badly the week before the race, and the fact that Justice Good, whom he dead-heated with at Newmarket, finished fourth in the Royal Ascot race was very encouraging."

Aidan O'Brien's The Great War was only fifth as odds-on favourite for the Norfolk Stakes, behind the re-opposing runner-up Mind Of Madness.

Coventry Stakes form is represented by third-placed Jungle Cat and Angelic Lord, who was sixth, while William Haggas' Mubtaghaa was third to the American speedball Hootenanny in the Windsor Castle Stakes on the same afternoon.

One of the most interesting runners in the field is Roger Varian's Belardo, a Lope De Vega colt who appeared to show considerable promise in winning his debut at Yarmouth a fortnight ago.

Ted Voute, racing manager for owner Prince Faisal, said: "It's a massive step up, but we're guided by Roger.

"I think Roger's mind was on the Eclipse over the weekend but I spoke to him at the start of the week and he said he'd come out of Yarmouth well, he'd work him and look at a couple of options.

"He rang up and said 'let's run him at Newmarket'. I don't think he'd be running here if he didn't have a chance and when I saw the horse, I thought he looked like he'd come on a bit for the run. We go there hopeful."

Another trainer to be double-handed is Brian Meehan, with Ustinov looking the first string ahead of Leicester maiden winner Lightning Stride.

The trainer reported on www.brianmeehan.co.uk: "Ustinov has already shown himself to be a high quality juvenile, following a very promising debut effort in a good race at Haydock with an emphatic success over a subsequent winner at Nottingham.

"Showed a smart turn of foot from well off the pace to win that day and both his subsequent work and overall form suggests he can more than hold his own at this high level.

"Lightning Stride won on his second start at Leicester and has been working well. Will be suited by the stiff six furlongs, and should appreciate the return to turf after his trip to Kempton last time."