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Last Updated: 18/10/13 2:39pm
Maarek: 'Literally bounced out of France'
Maarek is reported to be in high spirits following his remarkable victory in France as he bids to repeat last year's victory in the QIPCO Champions Sprint Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.
The six-year-old showed an amazing turn of foot to win the Prix de l'Abbaye at Longchamp over the minimum trip earlier this month and should be much more at home reverting to six furlongs.
With ground conditions in his favour, connections of the Barry Lalor-trained six-year-old are just hoping for the run of the race.
"He's great and travelled over fine. He was fresh and well on Friday morning out on the track," said Lalor's assistant Evanna McCutcheon.
"The ground seems ideal. We'd like a bit of pace so we'll have to see what we get. He's proven he's got the ability and hopefully things will go our way.
"Anyone who saw the buck and kicks he was trying out on the track couldn't question his wellbeing. He seems, quite literally, to have bounced out of his race in France."
Hawkeyethenoo chased home Maarek last year and, along with Jack Dexter, gives trainer Jim Goldie a strong hand.
"For Jack Dexter this has been the target all year. We went for the Ayr Gold Cup first and he ran a great race but obviously we'd have loved to have won it," said the Glasgow handler.
"Nevertheless, it was a big run and he came out of the race well. He's had a nice break, he's in good order and we're expecting a big run.
"For Hawkeyethenoo it's similar conditions to last year when he ran second. He loves the track and we always targeted this race again for him as well and we'll try to go one better.
"Being drawn one isn't ideal but we'll have to deal with it. He might lose momentum after the start getting across for a bit of cover, but I'm sure Richard Hughes will navigate that problem.
"We'll just sit him on and come with a run and hopefully he'll be coming to challenge Jack Dexter!"
Connections of Heaven's Guest decided to fork out £20,000 to supplement the progressive three-year-old after he won the valuable Betfred Challenge Cup Handicap over seven furlongs on this course last weekend.
"He's got to step up again, as we know, but credit to the owners as they were keen on having a go," said trainer Richard Fahey. "He likes the track and he's in good nick. It's just whether he's good enough. We'll have to find that out."
Sirius Prospect filled third place behind Maarek 12 months ago but has been largely forgotten for this race this year and was unplaced in Heaven's Guest's race last week.
Even so, his trainer Dean Ivory is not without hope.
"I know I've been running him over seven furlongs, but Ascot's six is always like six and a half," said the Radlett handler. "They've had a bit of rain on it so it will be like seven anyway. I'd like to think he'd have a good run.
"I'm very excited about the race. It would be nice to have Tropics in it but we've put him away for the winter. It's nice to have one good enough to run in it."
Mass Rally arrives at Ascot on the back of a good win in the Coral Sprint Trophy at York on Saturday.
"He has got some good form at Ascot. He's run well there for us and before we got him he had good form on the track," said trainer Michael Dods.
"At Ascot you need a horse that goes on the track and it's a big plus for him. He's got to take his chance. It's not very often you have a horse with a squeak in a race like this."