Muthmir seeking Cup verdict
Last Updated: 01/08/14 5:56pm
Muthmir: Stewards' Cup favourite
William Haggas is hoping conditions remain on the fast side as Muthmir bids to follow up last week's York success in the 32Red Cup (Stewards' Cup) at Goodwood on Saturday.
The four-year-old leapt to the head of the market for this historic six-furlong handicap when running away with the Skybet Dash on the Knavesmire and a 6lb penalty ensured him a place in the line-up.
"Muthmir looks like he's shaping up into a nice horse. He was impressive at York last week, hopefully he'll run well," said Haggas.
"He's fine, but he needs fast ground, which I think he's going to get."
Haggas has won this race twice in the past and last year's victor, Rex Imperator, goes for back-to-back triumphs.
He has been highly-tried in his last two starts, finishing down the field in the King's Stand Stakes and Darley July Cup. The five-year-old reverts to a handicap for the first time since this race 12 months ago.
"Rex ran very well first time then ran two poor races in admittedly strong company. This will be more his go. I don't have huge confidence in him," said the Newmarket trainer.
"They're drawn on either side of the track (Muthmir in stall two and Rex Imperator 26) and one will be on the right side."
Intrinsic had been a leading ante-post fancy for the Wokingham at Royal Ascot, but did not make the cut.
Robert Cowell's lightly-raced four-year-old has at least got into this big sprint handicap. He has won both his starts this season, at Ascot and Goodwood, and his trainer is looking forward to this challenge with the son of Oasis Dream.
"The target was Ascot, but we didn't make the cut there, so this has been the target since he didn't get in there. We've always had this on the agenda," he said.
"He's in really good form and he's ready for it.
"These races are a lottery which is why it's usually 7-1, 8-1 the field.
"You need a bit of luck in running, but we were keen on a draw (22) roughly where we are because I wanted to be around where the speed was and that seems to be where the speed is and it wouldn't matter if there was any rain at all."
"We feel a strongly-run six furlongs will be right up his street and if it wasn't for the fact there are 28 runners and we're going to need plenty of luck in running, we'd be pretty confident.
"There is a possibility of some rain. I'd probably prefer it to stay away as he's been running really well on fast ground of late, but at the same time he has run well on soft in the past, so I'm not overly concerned either way."
Michael Wigham believes there could be more improvement to come from Fairway To Heaven, who warmed up for this big test with victory at Windsor five weeks ago.
"He was a late developing horse and has only run nine times in his life," said the Newmarket trainer.
"We were pleased with him at Windsor last time and hopefully he goes there with a decent each-way chance.
"I think there's still a few pounds in the locker."
Ninjago bids to improve on his fifth place in this race last summer and his trainer Richard Hannon, who also saddles Expert, has drawn a line through his latest effort in the Wokingham.
"Ninjago was in no-mans land in the Wokingham, having been drawn in the middle, so he has run well under the circumstances," he told www.richardhannonracing.co.uk.
"He loves these big field handicaps - he ran a blinder to finish fifth in this race last year off the same mark - so, hopefully, he'll again be in the money.
"It is always tough for three-year-olds, Expert has looked a different horse at home since he was gelded and we think it is well worth a stab."