DUTCH CONNECTION will line up in the Criterion Stakes on a recovery mission after putting up a disappointing show at Haydock last time out.
The Godolphin Group 2 winner will need to bounce back to his best in a competitive final field of seven.
A fourth place in the Lockinge would suggest a Group 3 is well within your capabilities.
At least, that was what the market suggested before Dutch Connection lined up in the John of Gaunt on his most recent start.
But Charlie Hills’ enigmatic six-year-old was never able to get competitive, and heads to Newmarket looking to salvage some dignity.
However, following a short break, his trainer is now optimistic that he can produce his best this time around.
He said: “He ran a bit flat at Haydock. He travelled into the race really well, but he was not the same horse for whatever reason. He probably had a hard race at Newbury.
“I’ve been happy with him at home. He will like the ground and the trip is perfect. If he produces his Newbury form he should go close.”
On form, Larchmont Lad could provide the sternest test to the son of Dutch Art.
David O’Meara’s classy sort finished ahead of the favourite at Haydock, and his trainer believes he has a chance to strike at Group level for the second time.
Chris Richardson, racing manager to owners Cheveley Park Stud, said: “Larchmont Lad is in good form. It is a very tough race, as they are very similar-rated horses.
“Initially we were a bit concerned that it would be too quick for him at Haydock, but he seemed to handle it well. David is happy with him.
“It was frustrating he got demoted in a Listed race last year, but that is racing and we always thought he was a good performer.
“He has raced over further, but seven furlongs suits him well and that certainly looks his favourite trip at this point in time.”
Also taking his chance in the £60,000 contest is Tabarrak.
Richard Hannon’s five-year-old is yet to win a Group race, but his third in the John of Gaunt demonstrated he can mix it with the best at this level.
The trainer said: “Tabarrak is in great form. It’s the ideal race for him and I thought he did nothing wrong last time out.
“He is as tough and genuine as they come and he should run his race again. One of these races is going to fall his way.
“No one would begrudge him a win in a race like this. He is a lovely character and is well liked in the yard.”
Sir Dancealot is another declared for the Newmarket Group 3 .
The four-year-old ran a good race in the Diamond Jubilee last week to finish seventh, and this is a much easier assignment.
Trainer David Elsworth is hoping that he can strike now returned to his optimum trip.
He said: “He showed he is suited by the seven furlongs of the July Course in last year’s Bunbury Cup and he handles this fast ground, which they do a very good job preparing.
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“He’s a gelding and takes his racing pretty well these days. He’s a very fit horse and I would hope that you will see the same horse on Saturday that you saw last week.
“He likes a strong pace as he likes to do his running in the second half of the race.”
Outsiders Lake Volta and Mankib complete the field.