Ameynah seeking Valiant victory on Ascot return

Ameynah, not seen since finishing sixth in last year’s 1000 Guineas, is poised to make her return to action in the Longines Valiant Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.

Runner-up at Newmarket on her only start as a juvenile, the daughter of Exceed And Excel bolted up on her three-year-old debut at last season’s Craven meeting, earning her a tilt at Classic glory.

She was far from disgraced on the Rowley Mile, beaten little over three lengths by the winner Cachet, but has failed to make it back to the racecourse since.

After sidestepping the Falmouth Stakes earlier this month due to the rain-softened ground, Ameynah is set to reappear in this weekend’s Group Three event and while trainer Roger Varian admits conditions may not be ideal, he is keen to get her campaign under way.

He said: “She was declared to run in the Falmouth, so she’s been ready to run for a little while.

“We’ve been waiting for the ground to dry out, it doesn’t look like it’s going to dry out any time soon and we’ve got to get her season started, so I’m sure she’ll start on Saturday.

“She’s a lovely filly who has possibly got the scope to go 10 furlongs at some point, but this looks like a lovely starting point for her.

“We’d love to see the ground dry back, but whether it will or not, we’ll have to see.”

Ameynah is joined by stablemate Zenga, who was beaten only two lengths when seventh in the Kensington Palace Fillies’ Handicap at Royal Ascot on her seasonal bow and has since finished fourth in the Listed Pipalong Stakes at Pontefract.

“She’s a nice filly who has been unlucky in her last two starts. She would have gone very close in the Kensington Palace with a clear passage, she wasn’t beaten far and I think she was just caught on heels at the wrong moment in the Listed race at Pontefract last time,” Varian added.

“Her form figures from this year read seven and four but in reality she’s run two fine races, she’ll be comfortable in the conditions and a stiff mile looks her trip. She’ll run well.”

The likely favourite is the Ed Walker-trained Random Harvest, who has not finished out of the first three in four outings at Ascot and was beaten just a neck by Rogue Millennium on her most recent visit in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes.

She was unable to land a telling blow in the Falmouth at Newmarket a fortnight ago, but Walker is hoping a return to Berkshire can yield a return to form.

He said: “She came out of the Falmouth in great shape and she has got to have a favourite’s chance. She loves Ascot, so fingers crossed.”

Walker also saddles a pair of outsiders in Sea Of Thieves and Rose Prick, and added: “Sea Of Thieves won nicely at Haydock on her return and she backed that up when second to Back See Daa when we stepped her up to a mile at Newbury. That was a good run and she shows a nice attitude. I don’t think she’s out of place at this level.

“Rose Prick ran well when placed in the Prix de Bagatelle, a Listed race over a mile at Chantilly last time. She has been thereabouts in similar company and while she looks like being an outsider, we’re hoping she runs well.”

Thornbrook claimed that Chantilly race and she lines up for Joseph O’Brien while other contenders include Johnny Murtagh’s unbeaten dual winner Cadeau Belle.

Ralph Beckett’s Biggles bids to follow his Bunbury Cup win of a fortnight ago in the Moet & Chandon International Stakes under a 3lb penalty, with Fresh (James Fanshawe), Baradar (George Boughey) and Northern Express (Michael Dods) also prominent in the market.

Charlie Appleby has landed three of the last four runnings of the Flexjet Pat Eddery Stakes and appears to have another major contender in Ancient Wisdom, who has impressed in winning his first two races at Haydock and Newmarket respectively.

Appleby told the Godolphin website: “Ease in the ground and a stiff seven furlongs is going to suit Ancient Wisdom. This is the logical next step for him and should tell us what level we might be aiming at heading into the autumn.”

Ancient Wisdom might not have things all his own way, with eight of his nine rivals also previous winners, five of which have yet to taste defeat.

Among that quintet is Varian’s Al Musmak, who steps up in class following a successful course-and-distance debut.

“He’s a nice colt and we’ll learn a a bit more about him on Saturday,” said Varian.

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