Relief Rally will bid to give trainer William Haggas his third success in the Weatherbys Super Sprint when she takes on 20 rivals in the valuable five-furlong dash at Newbury.

Haggas, who struck with Superstar Leo in 2000 and Jargelle eight years later, feels the daughter of Kodiac has plenty going for her – and so do the bookmakers, who make her a warm favourite for the prize which is worth £122,925 to the winner.

Royal Ascot’s Queen Mary has been a good pointer to the Newbury sprint and having finished runner-up to American raider Crimson Advocate, who ended Relief Rally’s unbeaten run and foiled a hat-trick bid, Haggas feels she is the one to beat.

The last nine winners have come from stall 13 or higher and Tom Marquand’s mount is handily placed in stall 18, with Eve Johnson Houghton’s fancied pair Bobsleigh and Juniper Berries berthed in stalls 16 and four respectively.

“She’s a good filly and she’s very well,” said Haggas. “She won’t mind any rain. I don’t know about the draw.

“She is drawn with Bobsleigh and away from Juniper Berries, but there’s not much we can do about that. She has a good chance.”

The weight carried by a horse in the Super Sprint is determined by its sale price and as such, Juniper Berries, who finished fourth, four lengths behind Relief Rally at Ascot, is in receipt of 7lb this time.

Johnson Houghton said: “I was absolutely thrilled with Juniper Berries in the Queen Mary – she ran a blinder – and fourth at Royal Ascot is quite a feather in your cap.

“Relief Rally is obviously the main danger but we have a huge weight turnaround, so I am hoping that will be enough to change the placings.

“Bobsleigh has come out of the Coventry in very good form, I am very happy with him. He ran a storming race (at Ascot, beaten three lengths by River Tiber), which has turned out to be very strong form.

“That (five furlongs) would be my main worry. He has won over five and a half, but he looks like he gets the six furlongs well. They normally go very fast in the Super Sprint, so I am hoping that he we will be picking them up at the end.”

Irish raider Son Of Corballis has won two of his three starts for County Laois handler Kieran Cotter, latterly talking the scalp of the well-regarded Coolmore-owned colt Alabama in a Listed sprint at Tipperary.

Though he won on yielding ground on debut, Cotter is hoping the unsettled weather forecast is wrong.

He said: “We actually would want quickish good ground. He won on quick ground twice and I’m hoping it doesn’t rain to be honest.

“The way I look at it, if Alabama was in the race, he’d be hot favourite after previously running well at Ascot (fifth in the Windsor Castle) on the wrong side of the track. We’ve beat him twice this year with two different horses. He’s a fair horse.

“Before he won, he’d been working really well and we really fancied him. But since then, he’s been really laid back in his work, he just couldn’t be bothered.

“He has gone very relaxed altogether. So, when we were going for the Listed sprint, we thought cheekpieces would be needed, as these sprints are won by short heads.

“He is one of these horses who just pulls it out on the day, which is good, as we’ve had too many horses who will fly up the gallops and then you go to the track and they let you down a bit.

“He’s drawn 13 and that was our one big worry. The lads were saying if he was drawn one or two, you might just turn round the box.

“If you’d have given me the 13 stall yesterday I would have taken it. He’ll jump and go and we’ll see how far he gets.”

Roger Teal was also delighted with the 20 berth that Ffos Las debut winner Rosario has been accorded.

A son of Harry Angel, he had the reopposing Heed The Call and Relentless Warrior behind when scoring by a length and a quarter under George Rooke, who retains the ride.

Teal said: “He did it nicely on his first day at school. It all went very nicely and hopefully he will have improved for that, so fingers crossed.

“He is owned by my wife and we think a bit of him. He’s got a good draw, but the only worry would be the rain that is supposed to come on Saturday.”

He went on: “That could just mess us up a bit – he’s quite a good-moving horse and he wouldn’t want the ground too soft.

“Other than that, he’s pretty straightforward and he did the job nicely, so we’re looking forward to it.

“I’ve had bad draws all year, so it’s about time we got a good one. I don’t know what I’ve done right – they must have got my name mixed up in the computer somewhere!”

Charlie Hills could send smart prospect Iberian to Ascot next weekend as he builds towards “bigger and better things”.

The Lope De Vega juvenile produced a sparkling debut win at Newbury, where he travelled strongly in an extended six-furlong novice and led easily with two furlongs to run.

He just had to be shaken up to score by Rossa Ryan and shot to the top of the pecking order at a yard brimming with smart youngsters.

Iberian was due to have his second start in the Group Two Superlative Stakes, won by City Of Troy, who is now favourite for next year’s 2000 Guineas.

However, the rain-softened ground saw the Teme Valley and Ballylinch Stud-owned colt withdrawn.

Hills is now eyeing the Listed Flexjet Pat Eddery Stakes over seven furlongs on the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth II Stakes card.

“We pulled him out at Newmarket because of the rain,” said Hills.

“I’m not sure where we will go, but we might look at Ascot – the Pat Eddery, what used to be known as the Winkfield Stakes.

“He is absolutely fine. He’s done well since his debut and he looks a nice horse to me.

“We will see how we go, take it one step at a time and hope he goes on to bigger and better things.”

David Evans hopes the ground will be in Rohaan’s favour as the consistent sprinter bids for a fourth Group-race success in the bet365 Hackwood Stakes at Newbury on Saturday.

Bought for 20,000 guineas in October 2020, the Mayson gelding has proven to be a real money-spinner, winning nine times in 29 races for Evans.

He has climbed from basement-level handicaps on the all-weather to securing back-to-back successes in the Wokingham at Royal Ascot and a Group Two victory at Haydock.

Plans were hatched to head to both Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia last winter, but those ideas had to be shelved by the Monmouthshire handler when the gelding suffered a setback.

Winner of over £400,000, Rohaan was almost retired before striking late at Royal Ascot under Ryan Moore last summer, having previously suffered a dip in form.

He went on to add the Group Three Bengough Stakes at Ascot to his second Wokingham triumph.

While he has yet to show the same level of form that also saw him placed in the Sprint Cup at Haydock and sign off in October with a close-up fourth to Kinross in the British Champions Sprint, Evans feels he is getting there.

The five-year-old has had three runs this term, the last of which saw him beaten three lengths by The Big Board in a valuable five-furlong Ascot handicap last weekend.

Evans said: “After his injury, he took a couple of runs to get himself in peak condition and to have the confidence to let himself go like he did the other day.

“I only ran him there just to finish a race off. Hopefully he’ll have a good chance as he goes back up to six furlongs.

“Let’s hope the ground doesn’t go too quick. It is still saying good, good to soft.

“Hopefully Newbury will have a shower to freshen it up. I don’t think it will be fast ground anyway and he should go there with a decent chance – he was only beaten a length and three-quarters in it last year.”

Pyledriver is fully on course for the defence of his King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes crown following a racecourse gallop at Newbury on Wednesday morning.

Trained by William Muir and Chris Grassick, the six-year-old has won eight of his 19 starts, but has been blighted by injury setbacks which have kept him on the sidelines at key moments of his career.

He conquered German raider Torquator Tasso to land Ascot’s mid-summer showpiece 12 months ago, but was then not seen for 336 days before making a victorious return in the Hardwicke Stakes.

Training well since that Royal Ascot triumph, he came through one of the final pieces of his King George preparations with flying colours at Newbury, with the countdown now on for the July 29 Group One.

“He just did want we wanted and we were delighted with him,” said Muir.

“It was not a serious, hard gallop, it was just a day out really. He goes to Newbury, has a warm-up little canter and then covers the distance, that’s all. He did great.

“We’re keeping our fingers crossed and we’re in good shape. Fingers crossed we’ll be there at Ascot.”

Pyledriver has won three of his four starts at Ascot, with two successes at the Royal meeting accompanying the King George he has on his CV.

However, Muir believes that rather than being a track specialist, Pyledriver is simply a top-class performer who has the capability to thrive in all conditions.

He added: “Everyone says he loves Ascot but that is because it is one of the only places where the races are that we have run him.

“He has only run once at York and he won, same at Haydock, he’s both a winner and second in Group Ones at Epsom. I just think he’s a good horse. The races at Ascot suit him and that’s why we’ve kept going back there really.

“He’s extremely versatile – he’s versatile on ground, he’s versatile on course. He’s not one of those that you worry yourself stupid about what’s going to happen with the weather, whatever happens, happens, and you just turn up.”

Muir also delivered a positive update about Pyledriver’s half-sister Shagpyle, who started off with an eyecatching win at Ascot before being tapped for toe by a useful operator at Haydock.

“She’s fine and as I said when she first ran, she won’t be a filly who has too many runs this year, probably a maximum of four,” said Muir.

“She’s in good form and her work is totally different from when she started. Before she wasn’t strong enough to quicken and she used to just gallop away. We knew she was nice but we never put her under any real pressure because she wasn’t strong enough. Now she’s galloping really well.

“Her first run was really good, but it was on soft ground and she just got into that relentless rhythm and she was better in it than the rest. Then we went to Haydock where it was top of the ground and she didn’t mind the ground, but anything with a turn of foot quickened up and got us at it.”

The daughter of Frankel could head to Doncaster or Deauville for her next outing, while Muir isn’t completely ruling out taking up her entry in the St Leger later in the season despite envisaging it will be next term before she is seen at her best.

“If she were to win her next race easily and the ground was soft, then we would have one more run in a nice race and we’ve entered her (in the Leger) just to see what happens,” continued Muir.

“She is just a transformed filly from how she started the season and next year we will be purring about her because she will be going long distances.

“That’s why the Leger distance will suit her because she will get the trip, so although it is a bit of a throwaway entry, if we got there and it’s soft ground, you just never know.”

Heather Main’s Zoulu Chief could be set for bigger and better things having blitzed his rivals at Newbury to land a huge upset at 150-1.

Sent off the outsider of the field for the Starlight Charity Remembers Christopher Hanbury Maiden Stakes having beaten only one rival home on his debut, the Zoustar colt showed significant improvement to make every yard in the hands of Marco Ghiani – who enjoyed a double when partnering Darryll Holland’s Greyful Storm (25-1) to victory in the Bernard Sunley Handicap.

It was the third time Main has saddled a winner priced at 100-1 or more, and the Kingston Lisle handler is now considering a tilt at Royal Ascot with her precocious youngster following his four-and-three-quarter-length triumph.

She said: “We are absolutely delighted. The ground was a bit slow for him at Salisbury, but it was his first run and he jumped a bit slowly and he was still learning. He must be quite intelligent though as the penny has dropped quickly.

“He’s entered in the big sales race at Newmarket in October because we bought him at Tattersalls, but if everything goes tickety-boo we might aim him at Royal Ascot. The Coventry or something like that. I think it will suit, I hope so.

“He liked the ground today and he might even like it faster than that. It just depends what the ground is really. He was running on at the end, wasn’t he.”

Naqeeb, half-brother to the mighty Baaeed, had to settle for minor money once again as Ralph Beckett’s Nothing To Sea (7-1) struck under an enterprising ride from Hector Crouch in the Coolmore Stud EBF Maiden Stakes.

The son of Sea The Moon made all for a two-and-a-quarter-length victory with Naqeeb flying home late to claim second ahead of the 8-11 favourite Tony Montana.

Roger Varian saw heavy favourites turned over in both divisions of the Earl & The Pharaoh Novice Stakes with James Ferguson’s Good Karma (5-1) showing real promise to win the first division in good style.

The son of Dark Angel – who is owned by Michael Buckley and runs in the colours most associated recently with hurdling superstar Constitution Hill – could now be set for a step up to a mile with the Britannia Stakes at Royal Ascot a possibility.

“He’s a horse we have always thought a lot of and is owned by Michael Buckley who is a very good friend of ours so I’m really happy to get a good winner for him in his colours” said Ferguson.

“He will probably stay further and I think he will stay a mile no problem. Depending on what mark he gets he could easily be a Britannia horse.

“That has sort of been pencilled in after he won at Wolverhampton and it looks like the step up to a mile won’t be a problem. He has developed very well over the winter – we’ve had to be a bit patient with him but he’s told us when he was ready and thank god we listened to him.

“I think they think a lot of the Roger Varian horse (Resolute Man) so I think the form behind him is pretty good and his experience came to the fore. He’s not the easiest horse to ride and I think Danny (Muscutt) gave him a brilliant ride.”

In the second division there was a small shock as Paul and Oliver Cole’s 16-1 chance Thunder Ball dropped back to novice company with aplomb to win by four-lengths and shed his maiden tag at the 10th attempt.

Earlier on the card, David Evans’ Mabre (12-1) landed the Starlight Apprentice Handicap in the hands of Olivia Tubb, while Harry Eustace’s Mustazeed (11-4 favourite) made it back-to-back course and distance victories in the Unibet Handicap.

“He had to be tough today whereas he went through it much smoother the time before,” said Eustace.

“I did have a concern about the ground today, he handled it fine. It was really pleasing to see him put his head down and fight for it today and it is very rewarding for the owners. They had quite a long time with not much fun with him last year and it is paying off this year.”

In a thrilling finish to the concluding BetVictor Handicap, William Stone’s Dashing Panther denied Warhole back-to-back victories, winning by a nose at odds of 33-1 in the hands of Saffie Osborne.

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