Amour can be sweet for Candy

But Southern Hemisphere raiders will pose a threat to home hopes at Royal Ascot

In the 10 days dividing Epsom and Royal Ascot, with their stifling collars and breathless expectations, you could wish for no more relaxed sanctuary than here. Under the dreamy gaze of the distant cathedral, the usual suspects were again among the winners, ensuring that the journey home for men like Richard Hannon or Henry Candy was sweet as well as short. With next week in mind, however, they had met the day's most momentous duties long before setting out.

Candy's lofty cranium would always be liable to show above a parapet, but he must feel uncomfortably exposed against the latest posse of Southern Hemisphere sprinters hurtling this way. On Tuesday's opening card, Candy leads the home defence in the King's Stand Stakes with Amour Propre, a three-year-old who managed to blitz mature, experienced rivals on his reappearance at the Guineas meeting.

Having prospered with Amour Propre's half-brother, Corrybrough, Candy managed to get his hands on the chestnut for just 1,500 guineas as a yearling. "I'd be the first to admit that he didn't look the most amazing of individuals at that stage," Candy said. "But he's caught up, even if he still doesn't look a typical sprinter, quite slight in build. He was very, very green to start with, and made an awful fuss about everything – until he had a run. After that he was fine."

Amour Propre promptly broke course records on his next two starts, before a successful Ascot reconnaissance in the Cornwallis Stakes. Then came that blurring display of front-running, first time out, in the Palace House Stakes. "I was surprised that he managed to win quite so easily, against those horses and at those weights," Candy admitted. "But he has certainly been working in exciting fashion. He did his last piece this morning, and Dane [O'Neill, his rider] said that he was happy, that the horse was starting to relax. I have been trying to teach him to settle in behind, so that he knows there is more than one way to get the job done. Otherwise, apart from anything else, you would totally demoralise any horse you worked him with. I just hope I haven't overdone it."

Such self-deprecation comes naturally to Candy, but he will not be short of genuine alarms at Ascot. Like so many others, he has been hearing intimidating things about the Australian sensation, Scenic Blast, but he will be relieved that Luca Cumani intends to keep his Greek import, Ialysos, for the Golden Jubilee Stakes over an extra furlong on the Saturday. "No matter what the surface, any beast that can run five furlongs in 54 seconds has got to be pretty unusual," Candy observed.

Hughie Morrison is another trainer with a fondness for this place, and was particularly gratified when Cill Rialaig won the Margadale Fillies' Handicap - named in honour of his grandfather. Morrison has first hand experience of J J The Jet Plane, the South African raider who beat two of his own horses on his British debut at Windsor nine days ago, and his praise for that performance was not wholly unqualified. "He did it very well, and he's obviously pretty good," Morrison said. "But I don't think either of mine let themselves down on the [firm] ground – they were just too fresh and well the next day."

An hour later Morrison was back in the winner's enclosure with Yonder, who won despite getting loose beforehand and hiding in the racecourse stables. His tenancy had been briefly interrupted in the meantime by Hannon, with Secret Hero. Needless to say, Hannon is especially confident of making an impression next week with his juveniles. Always a formidable group, they are led this year by Canford Cliffs, impressive on his debut at Newbury last month and the big rival to the Ballydoyle colt, Steinbeck, in the Coventry Stakes.

"They all worked this morning, and if they're all right in the morning, we're all set," Hannon said. "Put it this way: I think we'll have a good chance in every two-year-old race."

Chris McGrath

Nap: Vanishing Grey (2.40 Haydock)

NB: White Shift (3.40 Haydock)

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Account Manager (Junior)

Negotiable: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Account Manager (Junior) Account ...

Solar Business Development Manager – M&A

£50000 - £60000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Accountant,Reconciliations,Bristol,Bank,£260/day

£200 - £260 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Accountant, Reconciliations, Bristo...

Test Analyst

£20000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: An experienced Tes...

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried