Commanche Falls will bid for a fourth victory during a stellar 2023 campaign when he lines up in the John Guest Racing Bengough Stakes at Ascot.
Michael Dods’ six-year-old has always been a handy operator over sprinting distances but has taken his form to the next level this term, becoming a regular at the business end in some hot contests.
Only twice outside the first three in eight starts, he has climbed to a career-high rating of 113 following his most recent success in York’s Garrowby Stakes.
Third in this last year behind Rohaan, he will now attempt to go two places better and replicate Dakota Gold who won this for connections in 2020.
Dods said: “He seems well. Obviously, he has his penalty, but he seems in good form.
“It’s a competitive race and he is drawn on the outside, but hopefully he runs well.
“He always runs his race, it’s just the penalty that is the problem really. I’m sure he will run well, but as always these races are competitive.
“You can’t knock what he’s done when in a battle, but as long as he keeps running his race and enjoying it, then that’s great.”
Mick Appleby appears to have a strong hand and saw the form of Annaf’s Portland victory franked when Significantly claimed the Ayr Gold Cup.
The four-year-old has proved to be a consistent performer this term and now returns to the scene of his King’s Stand Stakes third during Royal Ascot, while he is joined in the race by stablemate Juan Les Pins, who was last seen picking up a silver medal behind Commanche Falls on the Knavesmire.
Charlie Hills’ Garrus got the better of the Dods contender in the Abernant Stakes earlier in the campaign and has continued to run with credit in some competitive heats throughout the summer, while Richard Hannon’s Happy Romance is another capable on her day.
Dark Trooper is on an upward curve and now makes his first appearance at Group level attempting to extend a four-race winning run.
Ed Walker’s three-year-old has struck decisively over course and distance the last twice.
Also arriving with a recent victory to her name is Pink Crystal, who ran on well to claim an Ayr Listed event last month.
“She came from right out the back, seeming a little outpaced when she won at Ayr, but we’re up another half furlong which I think will help,” said Philip Robinson, assistant racing manager to owner Sheikh Juma Dalmook Al Maktoum.
“The time before, she ran a very good race when stuck on the wing at York in a race Swingalong won. I thought she ran an incredible race to finish where she did in fourth. She did it the hard way and was still not far away at the finish.
“She deserves her chance in this race. We’re very hopeful, and she’s in great form. Ayr will have done her confidence the world of good and we’re looking forward to Saturday.”