AIDAN O’Brien is hoping the forecast rain does not have too much effect on the ground ahead of the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot this afternoon.
His charge, Fame And Glory, bids for back-to-back victories, with one of his owners hoping he will be coming back for a few more years yet.
Having met with defeat in two runs after winning the Gold Cup 12 months ago, the six-year-old returned to Ascot to win on Champions Day and also scored first time out this season.
Likely to go off a short-priced favourite, he will bid to give O’Brien a sixth Gold Cup after the heroics of four-time winner Yeats. O’Brien said: “He’s in very good form, but I just hope they don’t get much more rain. If they do, his class might not shine through.”
Dr Jim Hay, co-owner of Fame And Glory, dreams that he can go some way to emulating Yeats. He told At The Races: “Ballydoyle think Fame And Glory is even better than last year. As long as it’s not extreme conditions at either end of the scale, he should run well. To win another would be a dream and hopefully we’ll be back again next year. The ambition is to be aiming for what Yeats did.”
Saeed bin Suroor is also watching the skies for Frankie Dettori’s mount, Colour Vision.
“Colour Vision showed a good turn of foot when he won at Kempton Park and he came out of that run in good order,” Bin Suroor told www.godolphin.com.
Godolphin also field the Mahmood Al Zarooni-trained Opinion Poll. Al Zarooni said: “I have been very happy with Opinion Poll so far this year and he looks better than ever. He ran two very good races at Ascot last season and returns there in very good form.”
John Oxx feels Saddler’s Rock has the hallmarks of a top stayer. The lightly-raced four-year-old has only had seven starts, but has shown himself to be of a decent standard, beating Opinion Poll in the Doncaster Cup last September.
“He won at Doncaster, he beat Opinion Poll and he beat him well,” said Oxx. “He stays well but has a good turn of foot. When you shake him up and give him a crack of the whip, he seems to find a lot. He races lazily and conserves his energy which you need for Cup races.”
Askar Tau ran a fine race to finish fifth in the race 12 months ago and a similar display would thrill his trainer Marcus Tregoning, although he too hopes the rain stays away.
“He didn’t run too bad on his comeback at Sandown behind Opinion Poll,” said Tregoning. “The thing with him is he must have fast ground, so I’m very worried by the forecast. If it rains that will be no good for him.”