Spencer anticipates a bold show from Cape Blanco

JAMIE Spencer anticipates a bold show from Cape Blanco when the pair team up in Saturday’s Man o’War Stakes at Belmont Park.

Last year’s Irish Derby and Irish Champion Stakes hero was a well-beaten sixth over a mile in the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot on his latest start, but had previously performed with credit in France and Dubai.

Aidan O’Brien’s four-year-old was just ahead of Gio Ponti in the World Cup at Meydan, and again goes head to head with his old rival, who is seeking a third consecutive Man o’War triumph.

“It’s an interesting race. He’s met Gio Ponti before and he beat him when they met in Dubai,” Spencer told At The Races.

“Hopefully they’ll have a dry week and we’ll get nice, fast ground out there.

“Obviously the trip will suit him, it’s a mile and three (furlongs) and it looks a good spot for him.

“It’s probably Gio Ponti’s ideal trip as well, but our fellow is a high-class horse and if he can find his real form I think he’ll be hard to beat.

“I haven’t spoken to Aidan (since Ascot) but he (Cape Blanco) was fine after the race and I’m looking forward to it.”

Meanwhile Richard Hannon is confident Strong Suit will strike at Group One level before the season is out following his courageous effort in Sunday’s Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly.

The three-year-old was a big disappointment when fancied to give Frankel something to think about in Newbury’s Greenham Stakes at the start of the season, but a subsequent breathing operation appears to have turned his career around.

The chestnut impressed when winning the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot and almost made all in France at the weekend, only to be caught in the shadows of the post by both Mutual Trust and Zoffany.

Hannon is now planning to return his charge to seven furlongs at Glorious Goodwood.

“Hughesie (Richard Hughes) rode a great race from the front, slowing things down and then quickening the tempo to suit his needs, and it was just a shame that they were mowed down close home,” the trainer told his website www.richardhannonracing.tv.

“Dropping back to seven furlongs won’t be a problem, and the Lennox, which is on the first day (July 26) of the Goodwood meeting, looks the perfect race as Strong Suit does not incur a penalty.

“Similarly, the Hungerford Stakes (Newbury, August 13) is right up his street and if Strong Suits comes through those two races safely, we can start looking at another Group One.

“We have always maintained that he was a very good colt, and I am sure that he will win one at the top level before the end of the season.”

nJockey Nathan Sweeney faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines after suffering a broken leg in a fall at Newton Abbot on Monday.

The talented conditional rider was unseated from the Bob Buckler-trained Ethiopia in the feature Newtonabbotrace On Twitter Handicap Chase and spent the night in Torbay Hospital.

Buckler said: “He had a crack in his tibia, which wasn’t displaced. They’ve plated it and kept him in overnight.

“It’s obviously going to mean a long time out from riding, which is a shame, as he was flying.

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