Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas hero Awtaad is on course to further advertise his championship credentials in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot next week.
The once-beaten Cape Cross colt brought the house down at the Curragh last month as he gave octogenarian trainer Kevin Prendergast a second Irish Guineas, some 40 years after his first with Northern Treasure. In doing so, Chris Hayes’ mount had Newmarket Guineas winner Galileo Gold in second, and while conditions may be slightly different for the eagerly-awaited rematch, Prendergast is not losing sleep over the likely Berkshire terrain.
“Awtaad runs in the St James’s Palace,” he said. “He doesn’t need cut in the ground and I’m happy with him.”
As well as the English and Irish Guineas winners, a third Classic scorer is likely to line up, with Aidan O’Brien aiming impressive French Guineas victor The Gurkha at the one-mile showpiece next Tuesday.
Connections of Foundation, meanwhile, believe concentration issues were behind his heavy defeat in the French Derby at Chantilly on Sunday.
Sent off the 4-1 favourite, the John Gosden-trained three-year-old weakened tamely before finishing last of the 16 runners.
Harry Herbert, racing manager for owners Highclere Thoroughbred Racing, said: “It was just an absolute head-scratcher.
“The horse was in terrific form and he had worked well coming into the race. Frankie (Dettori) called me after doing some work on him the other week and he was incredibly excited.
“He just got very shouty and didn’t concentrate in the race. Frankie said that he has known other horses to do that around Chantilly as it is a funny track. He was stones below his best ability and everyone involved is immensely disappointed with the horse as we thought we had a real chance of winning a Derby.”
NEWBURY: 2.00 Aardwolf, 2.30 Dame Judi, 3.05 Snow Moon, 3.40 Bunbury, 4.10 Lucky Louie, 4.45 Muaither, 5.15 City Ground (treble).
NOTTINGHAM: 1.50 Tafaakhor (next best), 2.20 PERIGEE (NAP), 2.50 Frosty The Snowman, 3.25 Growl, 4.00 Rococoa, 4.30 Fortinbrass, 5.05 Carenot, 5.35 The Dukkerer.
YARMOUTH: 2.10 Sandwood Bay, 2.40 Dubara, 3.15 Sixties Habana, 3.50 Wavelet, 4.20 Sbraase, 4.55 Johnny B Goode, 5.25 Ultimate Star, 6.00 Capital Gearing.
HAYDOCK: 6.45 Qibtee, 7.15 Raven Banner, 7.45 Arc Royal, 8.15 Heisman, 8.45 Bashiba, 9.15 Lord Franklin.
UTTOXETER: 6.05 Magna Cartor, 6.35 Casino Markets, 7.05 Stepover, 7.35 Gold Ingot, 8.05 Alderley Heights, 8.35 Martin Chuzzlewit.