sport

Kiyoshi drops in grade

View from connections ahead of Friday's Listed Woodcote Stud EBF Valiant Stakes at Ascot.

Charlie Hills is hoping Kiyoshi can gain an overdue success when dropped in class for the Listed Woodcote Stud EBF Stallions Valiant Stakes at Ascot on Friday.

The talented filly has not won since taking the Group Three Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot last year, but has only tackled Group One races since then.

Placed in the Moyglare Stud and Cheveley Park Stakes on her final starts as a two-year-old, she made a belated seasonal debut in the Coronation Stakes at the Royal meeting and was not beaten far when unplaced behind Rizeena.

Nothing went right on her latest start when she took on older fillies for the first time in the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket's July meeting and ended up sixth of seven to Integral on rain-softened ground.

Hills reports the Qatar Racing-owned daughter of Dubawi in prime condition, though he does fear Euro Charline, who finished ahead of Kiyoshi in the Coronation Stakes.

"I don't think she really liked the soft ground at Newmarket, but she got a little bit intimidated somehow through the race and lost her place completely and had to use some of her energy to get back into the race," said the Lambourn trainer.

"She's come back and looks fantastic. She looks a picture and we thought we'd drop her in grade. It would be nice to get her head in front and build up her confidence.

"Euro Charline is obviously in there and a danger. It won't be easy."

Euro Charline was a fine third in the Coronation Stakes and takes her chance after connections decided to put back her proposed departure to America.

"She's in good form. It's a small field and on her rating she should have a good chance and we are very hopeful," said trainer Marco Botti.

"The original plan for her has changed a little bit. She was supposed to go to Saratoga but they have decided to leave here for the time being.

"We will just see how she goes and then speak to the owners about what happens next."

Zurigha has already won twice at this level and has her first run since being out of the money behind Thistle Bird in the Group Three Princess Elizabeth Stakes at Epsom seven weeks ago.

However, her trainer Richard Hannon believes she faces a stiff task as she has to give weight all round.

"She has not yet shown her form on turf this year, but she ran better at Epsom last time, so, hopefully, we are getting there. However, the penalty makes it tough," the Marlborough trainer told www.richardhannonracing.co.uk.