Dank could run in Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot
Last Updated: 12/06/14 7:32pm
Dank could run in the Prince of Wales's Stakes
Sir Michael Stoute is leaning towards the Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot for Dank although he has still to persuade the mare's owner.
She was among 11 confirmations unveiled on Thursday for the 10-furlong Group One, with Criquette Head-Maarek's French star Treve taking top billing.
Last year's stunning Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe heroine was narrowly beaten by Cirrus Des Aigles on her seasonal reappearance in the Prix Ganay, but is a hot favourite to strike on her British debut under Frankie Dettori.
"She came out of her last race very well," said Al Shaqab's racing advisor Harry Herbert on Thursday. "Criquette (Head-Maarek) called me the next day and said Treve hadn't left an oat which was encouraging after a tough race on sticky ground against a great racehorse.
"It has all been really encouraging news since, the way she's been training. I spoke to Criquette yesterday and touch wood she's more than happy with the filly. Ascot has been the plan from the beginning and we're nearly there. You'd have to think she'd go on good to firm ground although extremes are always an issue. The trainer is confident Treve will go well on faster ground.
"Of course, it's disappointing that she got beat (in the Prix Ganay). I think Treve had got Cirrus Des Aigles beat that day then Christophe Soumillon got to the rail on that sticky ground and that was worth a length or so. She still ran a great race and the winner had had a couple of runs beforehand and has done brilliantly since."After next week, Herbert said Treve could head to the £1million King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot towards the end of July.
"We'll see how we go," added Herbert. "Criquette put it wonderfully yesterday - she said 'If Treve likes Ascot then we'll go back'. The King George is the natural race for her and we've seen some great fillies and mares take this route.
"She's taking her training well but it is one step at a time. But personally I'd love to see her come to the King George. It would be a perfect race for her in many ways. Criquette believes Treve can do that, the Vermeille and the Arc. It is one step at a time."
However, Treve may not have everything her own way as Dank made rapid strides at four, gaining a first Group Two victory in the Kilboy Estate Stakes in the Curragh before successfully stepping up in grade to win both the Beverly D Stakes and the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf.
The daughter of Dansili maintained her fine form overseas with a respectable third behind Japanese superstar Just A Way at Meydan on World Cup night and the Newmarket handler revealed that she has taken her travels in her stride.
She has a choice of entries, including a possible crack at the boys at Royal Ascot next week although her owner is reportedly favouring racing against her own sex at the Curragh later in the month.
"She's in very good shape. We’re going to confirm her in the Prince of Wales's but she also has an altenative of the Pretty Polly the following weekend," he said.
"I know James Wigan prefers the Pretty Polly. It would be nice to have a crack at the Prince of Wales's but we’ll see how the opposition is shaping up."
Aidan O'Brien is set to rely on Breeders' Cup Turf winner Magician, who won last month's Mooresbridge Stakes at the Curragh but was unable to reel in Noble Mission in the Tattersalls Gold Cup on his latest appearance.
O'Brien's fellow Irish handler Jim Bolger has Leitir Mor, Parish Hall and Trading Leather in contention, while Roger Varian has entered Hamdan Al Maktoum-owned pair Ektihaam and Elkaayed.
The owner's chief contender is the William Haggas-trained Mukhadram, who was narrowly beaten by Al Kazeem in a thrilling finish 12 months ago.
Multiple Group One-winning mare The Fugue, third last year, could line up for John Gosden.
Gay Kelleway's likely outsider Zambucca completes the list.