Strong Suit ready to fashion further success for Hannon despite soft ground worries

The authors of the revamped Champions' Day at Ascot will be grateful should the weather prove rather more benign, next October, than seems likely this time round. For deteriorating conditions, either side of the Channel, promise anything but a level playing field for the top-class sport scheduled over the next three days.

As it happens, after finally confirming Workforce an intended runner in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, connections sounded optimistic yesterday that the Derby winner would cope with the testing conditions expected at Longchamp on Sunday. But soft ground raises questions about some of the key contenders for the Shadwell Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket today.

The trainer who is surely rubbing his hands is David Simcock, who saddled Dream Ahead for the biggest success of his career to date in the Prix Morny in August. This colt has a pretty extravagant knee action and had previously won his maiden on easy ground by nine lengths. The fourth at Deauville has since bolted up in another French Group race, and Dream Ahead remains entitled to further progress.

Another able trainer seeking a big breakthrough is Ed McMahon, who saddles Temple Meads. This colt has also won on easy ground, but his energies needed conserving to last this trip at Newbury last time and he has so much speed that an emphasis on stamina seems unlikely to suit.

Approve has Group-race runs on the board but the key horse is surely Strong Suit. Despite dominating so many juvenile maidens through the season, Richard Hannon has never been swayed from the certainty that this colt is much the best among them. He was ultimately vindicated in a similar view of Canford Cliffs last year and Hannon is happy to run Strong Suit again at two. The outrageous fashion of his Royal Ascot success means that the form – which does not look terribly robust now – need not be taken too literally.

Strong Suit (3.05) may simply have seen too much daylight in Ireland last time, and Richard Hughes will doubtless return to more patient tactics today. The potential doubt about the ground would seem adequately factored into odds of around 3-1.

Hannon had to scratch Memory from the Adnams Cheveley Park Stakes, following a poor scope, leaving a really difficult race. Each way odds against Sharnberry (2.30) permit speculation that her strong maiden form offers an adequate base for this step up in class.

As for Workforce, he remained among 22 with their hats still in the Arc ring yesterday, having satisfied connections with his final blow-out. Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to Khaled Abdullah, is relatively sanguine about the ground. "I don't think he'll mind it, personally," he said. "He went on Long Hill this morning, ridden by Ryan Moore. The main thing was to see his action and general demeanour, and both were good. He just had a nice smooth piece of work. The point of waiting until the last moment was that he really is an important horse to us."

Turf account

Chris McGrath's Nap

Simple Jim (6.45 Wolverhampton) Races have not developed to his advantage since he won off a mark just 1lb lower at Thirsk in July, including when left too much to do last time, but there's little doubt that he remains ahead of the handicapper.

Next best

Toms Laughter (7.15 Wolverhampton) Very well treated on his best form and returned from a long break to make a highly-promising start for his shrewd new yard here last week, soon up against it in the rear but rattling home into fourth.

One to watch

Fimias (L M Cumani) Duly improved when stepped up to 7f and a close fourth on his nursery debut at Kempton last week, only finding top gear late on, and looking sure to profit from another step up in trip.

Where the money's going

Lady Of The Desert, having confirmed sprinting as her metier at Ascot last weekend, is 11-4 from 7-2 with William Hill for the Prix de l'Abbaye at Longchamp on Sunday.

News
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark episode 8, review
News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions