Trainer Appleby fancies Danzeno’s chances at Ascot

Paul Midgley
Paul Midgley
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Yorkshireman Mick Appleby expects star sprinter Danzeno to prove hard to beat in the Dubai Duty Free Dash at Ascot on Saturday.

he eight-year-old has been in fine form so far this year, with wins at Nottingham and Haydock sandwiching a tremendous effort to finish third in the Wokingham Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Danzeno also has a course and distance victory to his credit and with crack French jockey Gerald Mosse taking the ride, hopes are high that he can secure an eighth career success in today’s opener.

Appleby also saddles the admirable veteran Caspian Prince, the mount of Japanese ace Yuga Kawada.

“Both horses are in good form and they’re drawn close to each other, which is good,’’ said the Rutland-based trainer.

“I’m delighted to have Gerald Mosse on Danzeno.

“He’s ridden a few winners for me, so that’s very good news.

“I don’t know a lot about the other jockey – we’ll find out if he speaks Yorkshire or not!

“Hopefully Caspian Prince will jump out and try to make all and Danzeno will take a lead off him.

“I think Danzeno will take a bit of beating.’’

Danzeno and Caspian Prince feature in a field of 10 runners in the five-furlong contest, with Paul Midgley saddling Final Venture. The seven-year-old has filled the runner-up spot on each of his three starts this this season and bids to snap a two-year winless streak in the hands of female Australian jockey Jamie Kah.

The York-based Midgley said: “He’s run three good, solid races this year and seems in great form.

“I always like to support the Shergar Cup as they look after you so well and hopefully this horse has got as good a chance as any.

“It’s a tough race and I don’t know a lot about the jockey, but I’m sure she’ll be fine.

“All she has to do is point him in the right direction and he’ll do the rest.’’

Mabs Cross is all geared up to go one better in the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York on August 23 after being agonisingly denied by Alpha Delphini lastyear.

Trainer Michael Dods hopes the decision to keep his mare fresh since Royal Ascot, where she was fourth behind Blue Point, pays dividends.

The consistent sprinter went on to win the Prix de l’Abbaye after her near-miss on the Knavesmire last year and Dods will follow the same route again.

“We are happy with Mabs Cross. She is in good form and we’re building the work up ready for having her A1 on the day,’’ he said. “We just gave her a few easy weeks. The idea was to let her down a bit and then build her back up ready for York.

“The important thing to her is pace in the race. If she’s off the bridle at halfway, you know she’ll come on at the end.

“I thought when she ran at Ascot she travelled too strongly throughout the race, but she’ll get a fast pace to aim at, at York.

“Last year, obviously we got pipped at the post, but she ran a blinder. That set her up for France, so we’re aiming at going the same route.

“We’re happy with where we’re at. We’re at a similar stage to this time last year – we’re very pleased with her at the moment.’’

Prolific winner Wissahickon makes his eagerly-awaited return to action in the Rose of Lancaster Stakes at Haydock today.

John Gosden’s charge has won eight times from just 11 career starts, with only three of those appearances coming on turf – most recently destroying his rivals in the Cambridgeshire at Newmarket.

He rattled up a significant hat-trick on the all-weather during the winter with victories in the Quebec Stakes, the Winter Derby Trial and the Winter Derby

itself, but found Mark Johnston’s Matterhorn too strong when widely expected to land the Easter Classic on Good Friday.

The four-year-old is set to make his first competitive appearance since that shock defeat almost four months ago in this weekend’s 10-furlong Group Three, and connections are looking forward to seeing how Frankie Dettori’s mount