POETIC Flare bids to emulate his sire Dawn Approach by adding the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot to his 2000 Guineas success.
Dawn Approach took both races for trainer Jim Bolger in 2013, and now his son seeks to maintain family honour and complete the same Group 1 double in a race which forms part of the Qipco British Champions Series on Tuesday.
Poetic Flare has already had four races this season – finishing sixth in the French Guineas and runner-up to stablemate Mac Swiney in the Irish Guineas since his classic triumph at Newmarket.
Dawn Approach was having only his third start of the campaign when he edged out Toronado in a thrilling battle on Ascot’s round mile in 2013.
“It’s been an extraordinary season, with just one real hiccup (in the French 2000 Guineas) and another that was self-inflicted at the Curragh,” said Bolger.
“Nothing went right in the race at Longchamp, and we’ve drawn a line through it. He came back very quickly to finish second at the Curragh, so he’s very, very hardy – you couldn’t do that with every horse.
“The biggest trouble I have is keeping the weight off him. He’s a great doer, and he still has to do plenty at home, despite the schedule.”
Comparing Poetic Flare to his sire, the trainer added: “Dawn Approach was pretty hardy too and took it well, but he wouldn’t have been the same as Poetic Flare – but I’ve never had a colt of his quality who needed as much work as he does.
“He’s very well, and I think he has a big chance – the bookmakers seem to think so too.
“He goes on any ground too, which is a big advantage. It was good to firm when he won at Newmarket, but personally I’d prefer it if there was no firm in the description as horses last longer that way.”
John and Thady Gosden’s Mostahdaf puts his 100% record on the line, but takes a big step up in class and is the least experienced horse in the field with just three runs.
However, Gosden senior is happy to pitch him in at the deep end following his victory in the Listed Heron Stakes at Sandown.
“Our fellow has come the slow route – it wasn’t his fault he couldn’t run last year because he had a hiccup,” said the Clarehaven handler.
“This year he won twice on the all-weather and then the Heron. You could argue, and William Buick felt, that Highland Avenue was on the slower part of the track at Sandown near the rail, while we were more middle to left on the better ground.
“Having said that, our horse ran a great race, and I think the St James’s Palace is quite an open affair.
“I think our fellow will be fine on the ground – he’s a lovely horse, and we’ve taken this route before with Without Parole, and King Of Comedy just missed. Palace Pier came from an unobvious direction, too.”
Chindit has two group-race successes among his four wins, with his only two defeats from six starts coming at Newmarket in the Dewhurst Stakes and 2000 Guineas.
His trainer Richard Hannon told Unibet: “I thought he ran well (when fifth in the 2000 Guineas) – he might even think he won the race, because the race was over the other side of the track away from him.
“We are going to take the noseband off. Dobbsy (Pat Dobbs) reported that he doesn’t really face it. It’s a round mile at Ascot, and we will ride him a little handier.”
Hannon knows what it takes to land this coveted prize, having saddled Barney Roy to score in 2017.
“Barney Roy wasn’t the fastest horse – he was the first one off the bridle in the St James’s Palace Stakes when he won it, but he kept going and ground them down going to the line. If this fella wins, it will probably happen in a similar way,” he added.
“We are very happy with him at home – he deserves a big one. He is a very good horse, and this is hopefully a chance to show it.”
Aidan O’Brien attempts to improve his record tally of eight victories – with a three-pronged assault of Battleground, Ontario and Wembley.
He said: “We’re hoping the better ground will suit Battleground and Wembley.
“We couldn’t run Battleground at the Curragh (in the Irish 2000 Guineas) because the ground just got too bad. Wembley ran there, but it had gone too bad for him also.
“Both of them have been in good form since their last runs. If we can get them back to the form they showed at two, they would have a chance.”