Limato tackles Challenge Stakes at Newmarket
Last Updated: 12/10/17 9:34am
Henry Candy admits it has been a frustrating year with Limato ahead of his probable seasonal swansong in the Godolphin Stud And Stable Staff Awards Challenge Stakes at Newmarket on Friday.
After having bagged two Group Ones last summer, the fast-ground-loving five-year-old is without a victory from four starts this year.
But Candy believes the Group Two Challenge Stakes over seven furlongs represents a sound opportunity for Limato to return to winning ways.
He said: "It has been infuriating to have a horse of Limato's calibre and not be able to do anything with him (because of unsuitable ground).
"But I am very happy with his condition at the moment and looking forward to running him on Friday.
"His defeat in the Lennox Stakes (at Goodwood) was 80 per cent down to the ground, which was riding soft. We talked ourselves into running him that day when we shouldn't have.
"At least it's been no problem keeping a lid on him at home without a race, as he is a very free worker and keeps himself pretty fit.
"This seven-furlong trip should be fine - I think he is capable of winning Group races at anything between six furlongs and a mile - and I don't see any problem with him handling the Rowley Mile as he is very light on his feet.
"This is likely to be his final start of the season and, although we are toying with the idea of trying him over a mile again next year, we will go wherever the ground is right."
Massaat returned from a lengthy absence to win the Hungerford Stakes in August and last year's Guineas runner-up lost little in defeat when third to Ribchester in the Prix du Moulin.
Trainer Owen Burrows said: "He seems in good form and it's been a big team effort to get him back to form.
"The vibes I'm hearing are that he's going to stay in training next season so with that in mind we're running here rather than the QEII.
"The hope is we can then try and make him into a Group One winner next season."
Rehana is another horse who has endured a stop-start season because of the ground but she is talented on her day, as she showed when winning the Athasi Stakes at Naas in May.
"It is a step up in Grade to a Group Two for her but she won a Group Three earlier in the season," said trainer Mick Halford.
"It looks a very competitive race but we are looking forward to a big run from her."
Dabyah, Gifted Master and Dutch Connection are other interesting contenders.
Of the latter, trainer Charlie Hills told www.godolphin.com: "Dutch Connection had to miss the Prix de la Foret earlier this month due to soft ground, but I couldn't be more pleased with him at home.
"He would have his best chance on quicker going and I am hoping that the weather stays dry."