James Tate feels the JenningsBet Chipchase Stakes at Newcastle is the perfect opportunity to give Mount Athos his first run over six furlongs.
The four-year-old has won three of his six career outings, including being unbeaten in two on the all-weather, but all his outings to date have been over seven furlongs.
Last time out he was second to the reopposing Spycatcher at Thirsk, but he is better off at the weights on this occasion with Karl Burke’s runner and Tate is hoping that will be enough to close the gap.
“We’ve been looking forward to dropping him back to six furlongs, it looks a good trip for him,” he said.
“He’s always seemed very at home in those sharp seven-furlong races.
“He found the ground a bit heavy at Thirsk last time out when he was beaten by Spycatcher, but we’re 7lb better off with him on this occasion so he should be there with a good shout, hopefully.
“He’s unbeaten on the all-weather so that is another plus.”
Tate also runs Iconic Moment, who won his first three races before being a beaten favourite in a Kentucky Derby qualifier at Chelmsford.
He is also having his first run over six furlongs.
“Iconic Moment won a good race over what is arguably the sharpest seven around at Lingfield,” said Tate.
“He then found the undulating seven furlongs at Newmarket no good to him and a mile was too far before that.
“This looks a sensible move trip-wise for him, but obviously he’s got a few pounds to find. On the weight-for-age, though, it brings him into it.”
The William Haggas-trained Tiber Flow is well fancied as he returns to the venue which saw him beaten a short head on All-Weather finals Day in 2022.
Last time out he chased home Creative Force at Haydock.
“He’ll run a good race, he’ll run well. It looks a nice race for him,” said Haggas.
Richard Hannon’s Witch Hunter was a winner at Royal Ascot last week over seven furlongs in the Buckingham Palace Stakes, and while he went off at 50-1, Hannon has always held him in high regard.
“I was delighted to see him win the Buckingham Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot last week because he’s always been a very good horse and when things go his way, he is very good. Everything went to plan,” Hannon told Unibet.
“He’s obviously going to be much shorter than that 50-1 here, and is back into Listed Company, but with a 5lb rise for his Ascot victory it made sense to go for this level weights race rather than another handicap.
“He was only beaten a head over course and distance in the big sprint final in April so the drop back to six won’t be a problem and he goes there with a serious chance.”
Brad The Brief and Judicial both make their seasonal returns, with Prince Of Pillo completing the field.