Eve Johnson Houghton is “very hopeful” her Royal Ascot hero Chipotle can follow up in the Weatherbys Super Sprint at Newbury.
An impressive winner of the Brocklesby at Doncaster in March, the Havana Gold colt has since proved that debut success was no fluke by scoring twice at Ascot – most recently pulling clear of his rivals in the Windsor Castle Stakes.
Bought for just 10,000 guineas as a yearling last autumn, Chipotle – who is drawn in stall 20 of 22 – is a hot favourite to claim the lion’s share of the £200,000 prize fund up for grabs in Saturday’s feature event.
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Johnson Houghton said: “The draw is what it is. I think I’m happy enough with it – but if I’m not afterwards, I’ll let you know!
“We’re drawn near Vintage Clarets (22), who looks the obvious danger. I think we’re as good as it can be really.
“He’s in great form, and it will be perfect ground I should think, so we’re very hopeful.”
Vintage Clarets is bidding to provide his trainer Richard Fahey with a fourth Super Sprint success following the previous triumphs of Peniaphobia (2013), Lathom (2015) and Bengali Boys (2017).
Since finishing third behind Chipotle in the Brocklesby, the son of Ardad has won at Beverley and Ayr and finished a close-up third in the Coventry Stakes at the Royal meeting.
“Vintage Clarets is a very quick horse, who I think will be helped by coming back in trip, and Chipotle has a penalty for the Royal Ascot win,” said Fahey.
“We aren’t mob-handed this year for once, but you only need one runner if it’s the right one.
“It’s been a lucky race for me, and Vintage Clarets has a lot of natural speed.”
Sienna team hoping for more sun
Another trainer who has already enjoyed Super Sprint success is Jonathan Portman, having struck gold with Mrs Danvers in 2016.
This time he will saddle bottom-weight Sienna Bonnie, who cost just 4,000 guineas and will be ridden by Hollie Doyle.
Portman said: “Sienna Bonnie ran well at Windsor last time out and has been in really good form since.
“The Super Sprint has been the target for a while, but we are hoping for as much sunshine as possible to dry out the ground – the last two or three times she’s run, the ground hasn’t quite been as quick as she would have liked.
“She’s up against it with those with higher ratings, such as Chipotle, and it won’t be an easy task, but we’re looking forward to it.”
Tom Dascombe is no stranger to training speedy juveniles and has high hopes for Delmona, who was not beaten far when fifth in a Newmarket Listed event last month.
“Delmona has been in great form since Newmarket and is a very straightforward and easy filly at home,” said the Cheshire trainer.
“She is lightly raced, but a big field should suit her. She’s got a nice weight (8st 9lb) to run off. She’s not that well in on ratings, but we do think there’s more to come from her and are expecting a big race.”
Richard Hannon has so far added three Super Sprint victories to his father’s record haul of seven wins in the race.
He appears intent on adding to that tally, with chief hope Gubbass (Sean Levey) joined by five stablemates in Symphony Perfect (Hayley Turner), Raging (William Buick), Zoltan Star (Tom Marquand), Desert (Andrea Atzeni) and Banner Moonshine (Sam Hitchcott).
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