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Last Updated: June 17, 2011 12:08pm
Pastoral Player: Better on a faster surface
Hughie Morrison is praying the rain clouds stay away ahead of Pastoral Player's bid in Saturday's Wokingham Stakes at Royal Ascot.
The prestigious six-furlong handicap has been the target since the four-year-old made a successful reappearance at Newmarket seven weeks ago.
However, the recent rain has dampened Morrison's confidence as he feels Pastoral Player is better suited by fast conditions.
"We are always disappointed by the weather," said the East Ilsley trainer, who was in double form at the big meeting on Thursday.
"He probably is a fast-ground horse, although he did win on soft ground at Ffos Las last October.
"We've waited for this race so we'll take our chance, but we're pretty realistic about it.
"It does dry out quickly on the straight course, but there are a few showers forecast tomorrow."We've been very happy since his run at Newmarket and you'd hope he'd improve for it."
Connections of Victoire De Lyphar are hoping their sprinter is back to his best.
David Nicholls' inmate was second to stable companion Redford in last year's Ayr Gold Cup but was only fourth behind Bated Breath when favourite to make a winning return at Haydock last month.
"He's took a while to come to hand and with the dry spring we didn't get him out as early as we wanted," said Tim Palin, racing manager for owners Middleham Park Racing.
"He has won on good to firm, but he's better on good or with a bit of dig in the ground which he should get tomorrow.
"He's come on for his run at Haydock but the race wasn't run to suit him - small field, no gallop and he had to make his own pace.
"He did have a little abscess under his chin just before then, so he wasn't quite buzzing.
"Now that's gone away and the horse is in much better shape.
"I think he needs a stiff six furlongs with loads of runners, an end-to-end gallop with stamina as well as speed and with a little bit of cut in the ground.
"You couldn't frame the race better for him than this. We just hope last season's Victoire De Lyphar turns up."
James Fanshawe reports his two runners Mac's Power and Deacon Blues to be in fine shape.
"They both seem very well in themselves and I've always felt they wouldn't mind a bit of ease in the ground, so we'll have to see what the weather does," said the Newmarket trainer.
"Hopefully the ground won't bother them too much.
"They both ran well in their first starts and they are in good nick."