sport

Signs good for Estimate

John Warren is hopeful the Queen's Gold Cup heroine Estimate can get her season back on track in the Weatherbys Hamilton Insurance Lonsdale Cup at York.

John Warren is hopeful the Queen's Gold Cup heroine Estimate can get her season back on track in the Weatherbys Hamilton Insurance Lonsdale Cup at York.

Sir Michael Stoute's mare brought the house down in Berkshire when becoming the first horse owned by a reigning monarch to claim Royal Ascot's two-and-a-half-mile feature in 2013 and was only narrowly denied by Leading Light when defending her crown in June.

She turned in a rare disappointing performance when finishing last of eight runners in last month's Goodwood Cup, but Warren, the Queen's racing advisor, expects her to show her true colours on this more conventional track.

He said: "Hopefully she can get back on track. Sir Michael is certainly very happy with her and hopefully we can leave Goodwood behind us.

"We're very positive she will give a good account of herself and hopefully give her true running. The track should certainly suit her much better than Goodwood and the faster the ground the better for her, I think.

"Unless there is a torrential downpour and the going changes significantly, I don't think there will be any excuses."

Perhaps the biggest threat to a Royal winner on the Knavesmire is Godolphin's admirable veteran Cavalryman, who has been in the form of his life this summer at the age of eight.

Saeed bin Suroor's charge proved his surprise victory in the Princess of Wales's Stakes at Newmarket was no flash in the pan with a similarly determined triumph in the Goodwood Cup and the trainer expects another bold show.

"Cavalryman is doing well and had a nice blow-out on the gallops the other day," said Bin Suroor.

"He has always shown us his class since the day that he joined us over four years ago and we have a special programme with older horses who we want to keep for a long time designed to keep them happy and sound.

"He is a brilliant horse who is very tough. Some horses improve with age and others do the opposite but with him he has kept on improving, both physically and mentally. He always looks wonderful.

"He wouldn't want the ground to be too soft on Friday but good or good to soft would be fine."

Pale Mimosa is a fascinating contender for Dermot Weld.

The five-year-old won the Galtres Stakes at the 2012 Ebor Festival and returns to the track in tip-top form following an impressive victory in the Challenge Stakes at Leopardstown last month.

Big-race jockey Pat Smullen said: "I think she goes there with every chance. She came out of Leopardstown well and she has course form, which always helps.

"It looks a very good race and she's going to have to step up on what she's done so far, but we think she can do that.

"She doesn't want the ground too firm. We took her out of the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot because the ground was too quick, so hopefully we get some of the showers that are forecast in the next 24 hours."

Pale Mimosa is joined on the trip across the Irish Sea by the Mick Halford-trained Certerach, who beat Cavalryman at the Dubai Carnival earlier in the year but was beaten into sixth by Pale Mimosa at Leopardstown last time.

Halford said: "He travelled over on Wednesday and had a good trip. He's in good form and hopefully they don't get too much rain as he loves fast ground.

"It's a tough race with horses like Estimate and Cavalryman in there and he'll need a career-best to win, but we're hoping he'll run well.

"Things didn't really go to plan in Leopardstown the last day. He was a bit keen and I think you can just put a line through it. We know he's better than that.

"Jamie Spencer gets on well with him, the track will suit and we're glad to be involved."

Times Up won this race two years ago, but has failed to fire in two starts so far this term.

Trainer Ed Dunlop is hoping for a more positive showing to set him up for next month's Doncaster Cup, a race he has won in each of the last two seasons.

"His first run of the year came when my horses weren't very well and his second run was in very bad ground when he probably wasn't right either," said Dunlop.

"This is very much like his first run of the year, but he's ready to run and we want to get him out to put him right for Doncaster. Hopefully we'll see something tomorrow, but I would expect him to improve."

High Jinx has run well in defeat at York in the past and snapped a losing run dating back over two years at Maisons-Laffitte last time, but trainer James Fanshawe has warned his participation is not yet certain.

He said: "He scraped home last time in France and it was great to get him winning again. He's been in good form since, but we'll need to see some rain if he's going to run."

Richard Fahey's Northumberland Plate winner Angel Gabrial and the Nicky Henderson-trained Forgotten Voice complete the eight-runner field.