Bassett primed for Palace showdown with Frankel

RICHARD Fahey’s stable star Wootton Bassett remains on course for a mouthwatering clash with Frankel in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot next Tuesday.

The Iffraaj colt was a slightly disappointing fifth in last month’s French 2000 Guineas following an unbeaten juvenile campaign, but pulled far too hard for much of the race.

Part-owner Frank Brady is hopeful his colt will be all the better for that run and is excited to be heading to the opening day of the Royal meeting.

“I spoke to Richard the other day and I believe all is on course for Tuesday. We both think he was just too fresh in France and we didn’t see the best of him,” said Brady.

“It’s going to be interesting to see how we get on against Frankel. It’s going to be tough to beat him, but stranger things have happened.

“I suppose if we run a good race and we’re placed behind him it will be a good run. We’ll just see how we get on.

“He could go for the Prix Jean Prat back in France (Chantilly, July 3) if all goes well. There aren’t that many races he can run in.”

The French contest is the other option for Dream Ahead should he bypass a clash with Frankel at Royal Ascot.

David Simcock is keen to give the colt, who was rated joint champion two-year-old along with Frankel, a belated seasonal debut.

The Newmarket trainer pulled his stable star out of both English and Irish 2000 Guineas because of fast ground and is praying for some ease in the going.

“He’s in good order and he looks fantastic. We’re desperate to run him, but we won’t run him until conditions are right,” Simcock told At The Races.

“Ascot is the obvious option. We want to run him over a mile. The St James’s Palace is not far away and he’s in good order.

“If he doesn’t go there the next option will be France, but we’re very excited and looking forward to running him.”

Meanwhile Meeznah is likely to be kept on Britain for her next race with a trip to Ireland for Sunday’s Kerry Group Noblesse Stakes virtually ruled out.

Trainer David Lanigan has entered her in the Group Three contest at Cork but is now looking at the Lancashire Oaks at Haydock on July 2 and the Plantation Stud Stakes at Newmarket on July 16 for the four-year-old filly.

Lanigan expects Meeznah to improve a lot for her first run of the season at Haydock last month when she was third to Ferdoos.

He believes she will get better as the year goes on and live up to her second place behind Snow Fairy in the Oaks last summer, although she was later disqualified after failing a drugs test.

“We’ll probably skip Ireland on Sunday and keep her either for the Lancashire Oaks or a Listed fillies’ race at Newmarket next month. She’ll go for one of those two,” said Lanigan.

“She’s in great form. She’s very lazy at home and put on a lot of condition over the winter.

“We just wanted to get a race into her and for her to run well. She’ll improve an awful lot from that.

“You’d expect a second in the Oaks for that race to be a penalty kick, but she had a long time off after her last race last year. She grew a lot and she got heavy.

“She doesn’t help herself at home in the sense that she’s a bit lazy. She had a good blow after the race, so she’ll be a lot better later on.”

Also missing the plane to Cork will be Ceilidh House with Ralph Beckett opting against running her in the Noblesse Stakes.

The daughter of Selkirk has been kept in training as a four-year-old after finishing her season with a Listed race victory at Doncaster in November.

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