Tropics warming to Ascot task
Trainer Dean Ivory is happy to forget Tropics' under-par Ayr Gold Cup run as he gears up for a retrieval mission at Ascot on Saturday.
The five-year-old has enjoyed an excellent season, winning four times as well as finishing a creditable sixth in the Stewards' Cup,
but he failed to sparkle when sent off favourite for the Scottish handicap feature.
Confidence was high going into the race on the back of a Listed win at Newmarket, but Tropics put up no kind of show on easy ground and came home 23rd of the 26 runners.
Ivory said: "He was a bit quiet when he came back from Ayr. Jim Crowley (jockey) said he felt a bit flat and the ground wasn't perfect for him.
"It was a funny race - they all ended up on one side like a funnel - and I'm happy to just forget it.
"He likes to come from off the pace and the way it turned out that was difficult.
"This is his last race of the season. I didn't want to end with him going over the top, but he's working very well - you wouldn't know Ayr had happened.
"You would think he should be thereabouts and if he hadn't run at Ayr he'd nearly be favourite the way he won the time before."
Eighteen runners are set to go to post, but Victory Laurel could well sidestep the Group Three heat should there be any rain at Ascot.
Trainer Robert Cowell has warned his Italian recruit wants sound conditions to take his chance after he failed to impress when tried on soft ground in a Longchamp Group Three last month on his first start for the handler.
A Group Three winner in Italy earlier in the year, Cowell expects Victory Laurel's penalty for that success to make this a hard task.
He told At The Races: "I quite like this horse, the ground was really testing at Longchamp on his first run for me.
"We were the first race on the card and Sheikh Fahad (owner) wanted to get a bit of an idea what it was like.
He doesn't move like a horse that wants cut.
"It was a mistake running in hindsight but we'll find out more about him here.
"He's a horse for next year, really. He carries a penalty which will make life tough for him."