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Ground unlikely to help Addeybb with Gala performance

Addeybb may have to contend with less than favourable ground conditions in his return to action in the Davies Insurance Services Gala Stakes at Sandown.

The William Haggas-trained Pivotal gelding was due to make a third trip to Australia earlier in the year, but a blood clot on his hock became infected and for a while there were genuine concerns about whether he would survive.

Thankfully, Addeybb made a full recovery and having proved he retains plenty of ability when third in Sandown’s Brigadier Gerard Stakes in May, he is a hot favourite to notch a 13th career victory.

However, while the four-time Group One-winning eight-year-old is the undoubted class act on show in Friday’s Listed field, it is well documented that he is at his most potent when the mud is flying.

Haggas said: “I don’t think the ground will suit him, unfortunately, but the horse is very well and he needs to race, so we’ll get on with it.

“He’s in grand form and ran a good race in the Brigadier Gerard, but he needs soft ground and everyone knows that.

“It just doesn’t ever seem to rain where he’s entered, which is very frustrating, but a lot of people are in the same boat.

“I’d like to run him whatever, so we’ll see how we go.”

Addeybb has upwards of 9lb in hand over his six rivals on official ratings, with Sir Michael Stoute’s Regal Reality and John and Thady Gosden’s Harrovian among his key rivals.

The first of three Listed races on the card is the Coral Dragon Stakes, for which Royal Ascot runner-up Rocket Rodney will be a warm order.

The Dandy Man gelding was beaten just a neck by Little Big Bear in the Windsor Castle a fortnight ago and trainer George Scott is hoping his speedy juvenile can get back on the winning trail.

He said: “It looks one of the most competitive renewals I’ve seen since looking back over the race the past few years, so it’s going to take plenty of winning.

“I’m really pleased with Rocket Rodney. I think mentally he’s really come forward from his battle at Ascot and he’s a very exciting horse for the stable moving forward.”

Rocket Rodney renews rivalry with Archie Watson’s Windsor Castle third Eddie’s Boy, while Andrew Balding saddles Bakeel, who was not disgraced in finishing fifth in the Norfolk Stakes.

Coltrane and Callum Hutchinson (second left) scoring at Royal Ascot
Coltrane and Callum Hutchinson (second left) scoring at Royal Ascot (David Davies/PA)

Staying will be the name of the game in the two-mile Coral Marathon Stakes, which features a Royal Ascot winner in Balding’s Coltrane, who steps back in distance after winning the Ascot Stakes.

His opponents include Sir Mark Prescott’s Alerta Roja, who was second to Stradivarius in last year’s Doncaster Cup but has been off the track since October, and Jim Goldie’s veteran Euchen Glen.

The latter is a previous winner of the Brigadier Gerard and the Gala Stakes at Sandown and was last seen placing third in a Listed heat at York.

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