Emerald shining for Shergar
Last Updated: 08/08/14 11:07am
Dark Emerald: Shergar Cup Mile hopeful
Brendan Powell believes the step back up in trip will serve Dark Emerald well in the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Mile at Ascot on Saturday.
The four-year-old ran in what has turned out to be a red-hot five-runner race at Haydock last time out and was just beaten by Heavy Metal.
Mark Johnston's winner followed up in the International at Ascot and nearly doubled up in the Betfair Mile at Goodwood, two of the toughest handicaps in the calender.
Third at Haydock was Alejandro, who won a decent event at York next time out, and even Laffan, last of the five on Merseyside, struck on his next start.
That means Dark Emerald needs to defy a 5lb higher mark, but Powell could not be happier with his stable star, or with the fact Olivier Peslier rides the gelding.
"It was obviously a very hot race at Haydock as three have come out and won since," said the Berkshire trainer.
"I've purposefully given him a break since then as he does go well fresh and the step back up to a mile, rather than seven furlongs, is definitely in his favour.
"Olivier Peslier's not a bad jockey, either.
"He's very laid-back, which is half why I thought he'd be suited to hurdling, but he clearly didn't stay when we tried him. I thought he'd be a Triumph Hurdle horse.
"I trained him pretty poorly last year, to be honest. He won first time out and then I was running him over 10 furlongs.
"It would be great to get a big winner on a Saturday at Ascot."
Richard Hannon's Magic City has the assistance of Tom Queally, with South Africa's S'manga Khumalo on top weight Tenor.
Marco Botti fields Energia Flavio in the £40,000 contest and the four-year-old will be having his first British start after formerly being trained in Brazil.
Hayley Turner teams up with the Agnes Gold colt, although Botti believes the handicapper may have rated him a touch too high for his first European outing.
He said: "He came from Brazil and it is difficult to place this kind of horse as, in my opinion, he is too high in the handicap.
"We need to start somewhere and this is probably a suitable race for him.
"I've been pleased with his work but we need to find out a bit more about him and I just think he might be a bit high (in the weights) right now."