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Sovereign set to shine again

14 July 2017 National Sport

Sovereign Debt bids for another payday

Sovereign Debt bids to continue his remarkable run this season in the Fred Cowley MBE Summer Mile Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.

Since Ruth Carr inherited the battle-hardened grey out of the late David Nicholls’ stable in the spring, the eight-year-old has enjoyed a new lease of life with a hat-trick of victories.

He has gone from strength from strength, with wins in the All-Weather Mile Championship at Lingfield, the bet365 Mile at Sandown and the Diomed Stakes at Epsom.

Sovereign Debt has to carry a 3lb penalty for his Group Two success at Sandown, but this is the race Carr has had in in mind for him rather than head for a Group One.

“We have been heading towards this race at Ascot for a while and any rain they get will help. We gave him a couple of easy weeks after Epsom. Since then we have stepped his work back up and he should be spot on,” said the North Yorkshire handler.

“I do keeping thinking one day we will go to the races and be disappointed, but he has exceeded our expectations. He just keeps stepping up to it.

“Obviously he will have a small penalty to carry for his Group Two win at Sandown and there are some good horses entered in it, but he always gives it his all and has done since we’ve had him.

“I think possibly riding him a bit more positive has helped. Riding him further back is more risky and he often got into trouble and always seemed to be the hard luck story, but now we have made it simpler and I think has helped.

“Hopefully we can have another big day again.”

Carr’s runner faces strong opposition, headed by last year’s winner, the William Haggas-trained Mutakayyef, who ran a tremendous race to get within a length and a quarter of Ribchester in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot on his latest start.

“He did everything right at Royal Ascot and was beaten by a better horse,” said Angus Gold, racing manager to owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum.

“It is well documented he doesn’t want the soft ground and they had the rain earlier in the week so I hope it dries up enough.

“If he runs the same sort of race he ran at Royal Ascot I can’t see why he won’t take all the beating.

“He is a very genuine horse and he normally runs his race so I would like to think he will go close. The Sussex is certainly a possible afterwards.

“We’ve also got the option of going back up to a mile and a quarter with him as he ran well at York last year and I don’t think anybody would say he doesn’t stay it. I’m sure at some point he will go back to a mile and quarter, but we will see how he gets on Saturday.”

Kaspersky put up a good effort to finish fifth in the Queen Anne and his trainer Jane Chapple-Hyam believes the round course will suit him better than the straight mile did.

“I was hoping it would be a softer race and that everyone would wait for Goodwood and go for the Sussex Stakes. It actually looks like it could be as hot as the Queen Anne,” said the Newmarket handler.

“Last time it was on the straight mile and now they are back on the mile around the turn which will suit him better. He just needs a bit of luck in running. I can’t see him winning it, but I would be delighted if he could nick third.

“He was sent off at high odds last time and was on the wrong side and he might have finished closer to the third then, but you never know. He has showed improvement every run I’ve had him so hopefully he can find another couple of lengths again.

“This is likely to be his last run in Britain. He might go to the Prix Gontaut-Biron at Deauville in August but there is also the Strensall Stakes at York on the back of my mind.”

Gabrial was third in this race last year and has finished second to Sovereign Debt twice this term.

His trainer Richard Fahey reckons they will all be playing for places behind Mutakayyef.

“I’d love him to run a big race but the Haggas horse (Mutakayyef) will take the beating on form. He’s reliable,” said Fahey.

“The class horse is Mutakayyef, the rest are in a heap, so we’ll have to see.”

As well as Mutakayyef, Haggas saddles Hathal, while David O’Meara’s Firmament and French raider Zalamea, trained by Carina Fey, complete the line-up.

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