Ocean Wind seeking to further Gold Cup ambitions at Sandown
Ocean Wind is out to cement his Gold Cup claims with victory in the Coral Henry II Stakes at Sandown.
The five-year-old has filled the runner-up spot on each of his three starts so far this year, most recently pushing triple Gold Cup hero Stradivarius close in the Sagaro Stakes at Ascot last month.
Trainer Roger Teal hopes his star stayer can get back on the winning trail in Thursday’s two-mile Grade Three – before returning to Ascot for another crack at Stradivarius at next month’s Royal meeting.
“You can’t take anything for granted, because there’s some high quality-animals up against him, but he ran very well at Ascot and hopefully he can build on that,” said the Lambourn trainer.
“Hopefully the ground dries up a bit, although he’s not ground dependent to be fair – he races on most things, God bless him.
“We’ll see what happens. Hopefully he can do himself justice, and then we’ll go on to Ascot.”
Ocean Wind’s biggest threat appears to be the Mark Johnston-trained Nayef Road, who aims to bounce back from a rare disappointing display in the Yorkshire Cup a fortnight ago.
Rainbow Dreamer (Alan King), Ranch Hand (Andrew Balding) and Irish raider Lismore (Henry de Bromhead) complete the line-up.
Eight previous winners contest the Listed Coral ‘Beaten By A Length’ National Stakes.
Bryan Smart’s Bond Chairman, the Eve Johnson Houghton-trained Chipotle and Choux from David Evans’ yard all put their unbeaten records on the line, while George Boughey’s Navello bids for a fourth victory from five starts.
Boughey said: “He’s been training really well and has got a good draw in stall four.
“I couldn’t really fault him, to be fair. This looked the natural place to go from winning the Lily Agnes at Chester, when the ground was pretty soft. I wouldn’t be worried with any ground, to be fair.
“He should go there with a favourite’s chance and hopefully he’ll take all the beating.
“Hopefully this is a stepping-stone before Royal Ascot.”
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