Tempest facing Superior test
Views from connections ahead of Saturday's betfred.com Superior Mile at Haydock, including John Ryan on Ocean Tempest.
Ocean Tempest pitches for his first Group-race success at Haydock as John Ryan's grey continues what has been a productive year in Saturday's betfred.com Superior Mile.
After having his first start of 2014 in Dubai at the start of January, Ocean Tempest went on to win the Lincoln plus a couple of Listed events at Windsor and Ascot before taking in contests at Royal Ascot and Baden-Baden.
Refreshed after a rest, Ocean Tempest then claimed a Chester handicap from a mark of 115. That success makes him the highest-rated in the field ahead of a clash with Captain Cat and Short Squeeze.
"Ideally, he'd want it a bit softer," said Ryan.
"It's not going to impede him from running, but if it was a bit softer it puts the race more in our favour.
"Adam Kirby, who rides him, has walked the course and he said it's safe with a good covering of grass, so hopefully it will be fine.
"The horse is very well, and he doesn't need to show more than he did at Chester to run a good race. It's obviously a competitive race, but the horse doesn't need to do anything to please us and we can go there hopeful.
"I gave him a couple of months off and the idea is to keep going into the autumn, and perhaps eventually look at a race on Arc weekend."
Roger Charlton's Captain Cat, who landed a lucrative event at Lingfield on Good Friday, returned with a stylish performance in the Sovereign Stakes at Salisbury but could only take third in the Celebration Mile after coming from a long way back.
He meets another in-form rival in Short Squeeze, the Hugo Palmer runner who arrived in the nick of time for Pat Smullen to collect a handicap at the Ebor meeting.
Palmer told Smullen to allow as much time as possible on Short Squeeze at York as his mount does not like to be crowded by other horses.
Pleased about the likely shortage of runners, the trainer said: "With us, Ocean Tempest and Captain Cat, there are three horses separated by about a point in the market.
"The Irish horse Brendan Brackan has come out and if it dries out a bit, a couple more may come out and it would be a very small field indeed.
"I've always wanted to try him in a small field on decent ground and he has won over course and distance before."
Captain Cat ended up a place behind Richard Hannon's Emell at Goodwood, a tactical event where Bow Creek made all of the running.
Emell's trainer told www.richardhannonracing.co.uk: "He produced a career-best performance last time to finish second in the Celebration Mile at Goodwood and, though he probably benefited from the way the race was run, if he can pull off a similar effort he'll be right there now that he drops down a grade."