ALAN King hopes Dunkerron can take advantage of a drop in class on his return to action in the Betway King Charles II Stakes at Newmarket.
The trainer has earmarked the seven-furlong Listed prize on May 18 as a starting point for the gelded son of Kuroshio.
Although failing to strike at pattern-race level in four attempts last season, Dunkerron ran some admirable races in defeat – most notably when chasing home Dark Vision in the Group Two Vintage Stakes at Goodwood in July.
King said: “Dunkerron is working well, and we are looking at starting him in the King Charles II Stakes at Newmarket. We had a bit of a hold-up with him coughing for a while, but the last two weeks he has been good. It looks like he has trained on from two to three. We will just take things a race at time.”
n Bapaume heads a field of 10 in tomorrow’s Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle at Punchestown.
Willie Mullins’ six-year-old has been consistent this season and finished a fine fourth behind Paisley Park in the equivalent race at the Cheltenham Festival. Mullins also runs Bacardys and Killultagh Vic.
Dan Skelton, fresh from making history by becoming just the second trainer to reach the 200-winner milestone during a season in Britain, sends over Aux Ptits Soins, who was impressive in handicap company at Aintree.
While deciding against running Apple’s Jade, Gordon Elliott still has three runners – Cracking Smart, Dortmund Park and Prince Of Scars. Unowhatimeanharry, Vision Des Flos and Not Many Left complete the field.
The other Grade One race on Thursday is the two-mile Ryanair Novice Chase which sees the Arkle winner Duc De Genievres clash with Philip Hobbs’ Defi Du Seuil.
The British-trained raider will be dropping in trip having won the JLT at the Cheltenham Festival in March over two miles and five furlongs.
As well as Duc De Genievres Mullins also runs the promising Chacun Pour Soi and Voix Du Reve, a Grade One winner last time out.
Henry de Bromhead’s Aintree winner Ornua and Joseph O’Brien’s Us And Them, second in four Grade Ones this season, also run along with Duca De Thaix.
PONTEFRACT: 2.25 Il Maestro, 3.00 Desert Icon (treble), 3.35 Ideal Candy, 4.10 Kripke, 4.45 Socialites Red, 5.15 Fume, 5.50 Musharrif.
ASCOT: 2.15 Lady Pauline, 2.50 Baba Ghanouj, 3.25 Weekender, 3.55 CALYX (NAP), 4.25 Barney Roy, 5.00 Burford Brown, 5.35 Candelisa.
SOUTHWELL: 12.00 Poppy Jag, 12.30 Global Melody, 1.00 Bond Angel, 1.30 Kavora, 2.00 Fiction Writer, 2.35 Gunnabedun, 3.10 Constraint.
BATH: 4.50 Whataguy, 5.25 Royal Ambition, 6.00 Bequest, 6.30 Freckles, 7.00 Bayshore Freeway, 7.35 Singing The Blues, 8.10 Aegeus.
BRIGHTON: 4.35 Pink Flamingo, 5.10 Paper Star, 5.45 Sigrid Nansen, 6.15 Sashenka, 6.50 Scale Force, 7.25 Harlequin Rose, 7.55 Red Snapper.