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Last Updated: 14/05/13 2:07pm
Maarek: Would appreciate a little rain at York
David Nagle is praying the rain comes for Maarek ahead of the Duke of York Clipper Logistics Stakes at York on Wednesday.
The County Tipperary trainer intends to run his star sprinter on the Knavesmire as long as conditions are suitable, having taken him out of a race at Longchamp on Sunday because there was not enough cut in the ground.
"The forecast is meant to be pretty bad in York tonight. I'm the only one who hopes it comes," said Nagle. "As long as there's no firm in the ground he'll be OK. He just wants some ease in the ground. The horse is in super form. The only snag is that we need some rain."
Nagle has booked Paul Hanagan for the ride in the hope that his local knowledge will be an advantage. "I don't know Paul, but I'm glad to have him. I know he's been top jockey there," he said.
Hanagan is looking forward to the ride on the six-year-old, winner of last season's Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes.
"It's great to get the ride on him. I'm looking forward to him. I've not sat on him before but I've seen him plenty of times and he's a very classy horse," said the two-times champion jockey.
Mince ended 2012 on the top of her game with a four-timer culminating in wins at York and Ascot.
The Roger Charlton-trained filly has headed the ante-post market for this Group Two contest and her rider James Doyle is convinced she can go right to the top of the sprinting tree.
"Her preparation has been good. I've sat on her quite a few times and she has given me some nice breezes," Doyle told At The Races.
"She's done nothing but please me and has improved with every bit of work she has had. She should show up nicely. She's quite a heavy mare and does have a good blow after her gallops.
"She goes there in decent nick but she should come on for it. She did well to win at Ascot on ground that she struggled to cope with.
"She was very tough that day and I'm really looking forward to her this year. I think she'll be a Group One horse."
The other Irish challenger is Gordon Lord Byron - but his trainer Tom Hogan would like the rain to stay away if possible.
The five-year-old won at the highest level in the Prix de la Foret at Longchamp in October and has since been on his travels, running in Hong Kong and Dubai.
"It's good to get him back on grass again. Hopefully we won't get too much rain. Even though he's won on soft ground he's better on good ground," said County Tipperary-based Hogan.
"It's a tough task. He has to carry his Group One penalty and give weight to most of the field. We are playing with the big boys now. He has a reasonably good draw (four) and there is a fair bit of pace on his side."
The other horse in the line-up burdened with a Group One penalty is Society Rock. He signed off last term with a fifth place behind Maarek at Ascot, just a month after beating Gordon Lord Byron by three-quarters of a length in the Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock.
Trainer James Fanshawe reports the six-year-old to be in fine shape for his reappearance.
"Society Rock is our flagship horse and he has been going nicely at home. Kieren Fallon came to ride him the other day and he didn't get off and say he would rather ride something else," the Newmarket trainer told www.jamesfanshawe.com.
"He has a Group One penalty so has to give most of them 5lbs and the good fillies Mince and Tickled Pink 8lbs. We are looking forward to running him."
Jim Goldie is looking forward to running his two speedsters Hawkeyethenoo and Jack Dexter.
"A bit of rain would help. I hope it comes early enough to get into the ground. Rain tonight would be fine and good ground would suit them both," said the Glasgow trainer.
"Hawkeyethenoo is in top form. He ran a nice race at Newmarket (behind Tickled Pink) and he seems in good order.
"He's a course and distance winner and he beat Society Rock last time they met (at Ascot). He's got the form, you just need luck in running.
"I quite like his draw (14). I think it will suit him. High to middle is good. I think the race will develop in that area.
"Jack Dexter won the Cammidge (at Doncaster). He would probably like more cut in the ground but we are running him to see if he handles good ground. If he doesn't, then we might put him away until the back end."
Course and distance winner Ladies Are Forever is back on turf after winning twice on the Polytrack at Lingfield earlier in the year.
"We've been waiting for this race. That race at Nottingham last weekend was the other option. She's fit and well and is in great nick. We're expecting a big run from her," said her trainer Geoff Oldroyd.
"It's a good race but she's entitled to have a shot at it the way she's progressed. She's matured and got stronger.
"The way she won at Lingfield, you can say she has improved quite a lot from a four-year-old. She was never right last year and had various niggly things wrong with her."