sport

Stoute upbeat on Estimate

Sir Michael Stoute believes Estimate has started to return to the sort of form which landed The Queen last year's Gold Cup.

The mare created the magical moment of Royal Ascot 2013 when clinching a historic victory for the reigning monarch, but has only been seen once since that day when beaten back at the Berkshire course on Champions Day.

Next Thursday will be the acid test, and Stoute said: "It hasn't been easy. She had a muscle problem with her right-hind, that's why she hasn't had a preparatory run.

"We're under pressure but we've made some progress in the last month. I think it's a very tough Gold Cup this year, a tough assignment, but I think we're going to run very well."

Stoute, who is now the most successful current trainer at the meeting with 68 winners, has a few other hot prospects.

However, he warned that backers of Royal Hunt Cup favourite Abseil, a winner at Epsom last week, must sit tight.

"Ante-post punters are being reckless as he's not certain to make the cut," he said. "He's got a 5lb penalty but he'll be at the bottom of the field on 97. I hope he'll get in as I think he'd have a great chance. The track will be ideal."

Stoute also had news on Lingfield Derby Trial winner Snow Sky, who had to miss Epsom with a minor setback.

He said: "We're hoping to go for the King Edward VII on the Friday. He's back on track, back cantering. He sprained a near-fore joint.

"Telescope's in the Hardwicke. He's been coming up against Noble Mission, who's a big improver who handles heavy ground. He'll be better on faster ground.

"Integral goes for the Duke of Cambridge, Russian Realm goes for the Buckingham Palace and Radiator goes for the Sandringham."