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Savvy success not beyond Woods contender in King Edward

Sean Woods feels Savvy Victory should not be overlooked in Friday’s King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot.

The Newmarket trainer insists things have not fallen right in the New Bay colt’s campaign thus far, and hopes he will restore his reputation when he takes on five rivals in the Group Two event, run over a mile and a half.

Savvy Victory has been beaten by both the Aidan O’Brein-trained Changingoftheguard and Charlie Appleby’s Ottoman Fleet in the Chester Vase and in the Listed Fairway Stakes at Newmarket respectively on his last two runs.

But Woods feels he has had his excuses since winning a 10-furlong Pontefract maiden on his first start this term.

“He is a very, very good horse and things haven’t gone quite right in the two trials,” said Woods.

“We tried to prep him for the Derby and obviously Chester became a quagmire and he didn’t like it and Changingoftheguard beat him fair and square, but he didn’t like the (soft) ground one bit.

“If you watched the race at Newmarket, he filled me with confidence that he was always going to be the winner and got interfered with four of five times in a five-runner race.

“He travelled exceptionally well, but he did not come down the hill at all. Going into the dip, he was all over the place, and that is why we made the decision not to go forward for the Derby. This race has always been the plan since then.”

Savvy Victory is the outsider of the sextet, yet Woods feels he is being somewhat overlooked.

“I could not be happier with him,” he added. “We had to run him quicker than we would have normally done. Chester to Newmarket was only 10 days and then we went from there. The horse, in himself, is in great form.

“He is a very good-moving horse and you’d like to think if anybody would produce safe, good to firm ground, it is Ascot.

“His form ties in with a few of them. I do like him and his work has been exceptional. He worked on the Limekilns on quick ground and he quickened away from his two lead horses and he had a blow-out on Wednesday morning and I’m delighted with him.”

Lysander is similarly attempting to redeem a lofty reputation. The William Haggas-trained New Approach colt won an all-weather novice over 10 furlongs at Newcastle, yet failed to handle the loose ground at Goodwood in a strong renewal of the Cocked Hat, going down three-quarters of a length to Lionel.

Lysander/Goodwood
Lysander will bid to restore a lofty reputation (Simon Milham/PA)

Derby plans were shelved thereafter. Harry Herbert, racing manager for Highclere Thoroughbreds, who own the colt, said: “He is in great shape and in very good form according to the trainer.

“William is very positive about the horse generally. I don’t know if he will love very fast ground but it will probably be pretty quick.

“He has a wonderful action and he definitely was not suited to the sticky soft ground at Goodwood. That said, I think it was a very strong race anyway.

“Tom Marquand really likes this horse as well and reckons we didn’t see anywhere near the Lysander that they know when they ran at Goodwood.

“If that’s the case, it will be exciting seeing him in the King Edward and hopefully giving his owners a big shout as well.”

Progressive Ottoman Fleet makes his third start for Appleby after his Fairway Stakes success.

The son of Sea The Stars had previously made a promising debut when runner-up to stablemate Natural World at Newbury, with subsequent Goodwood winner Lionel in third.

Charlie Appleby trains the progressive Ottoman Fleet
Charlie Appleby trains the progressive Ottoman Fleet (Tim Goode/PA)

“We have been pleased with Ottoman Fleet going into this,” Appleby told the Godolphin website. “He is the least experienced in the field but we are optimistic that stepping up to a mile and a half will see further improvement. Hopefully, he should be very competitive.”

The six-furlong Albany Stakes kicks off a superb seven-race card, with 18 runners going to post for the Group Three contest.

Aidan O’Brien last won this race in 2016 with Brave Anna and relies on Meditate, who is drawn in stall four.

Meditate, a daughter of No Nay Never, has won both her starts, over five furlongs at the Curragh and over six at Naas.

O’Brien was pondering running impressive Navan winner Statuette in the race, but decided against it, given the quick ground.

He said: “Meditate has run twice and won twice. She won at the Curragh and at Naas the last day. She should be OK on the ground.”

He added of Statuette, who will wait for the Curragh: “Statuette is a big filly and we don’t want to rush her.”

Meditate is vying for favouritism with Mawj, who scooted up by four and a half lengths over a similar trip on debut at Newmarket, beating subsequent winner Believing.

Her trainer Saeed bin Suroor said: “Mawj won nicely over this distance at Newmarket and she is an improving filly. Her latest piece of work went very well and we are looking for another good result.”

He added: “She is a very nice filly. We like her. She won on her debut at Newmarket and the filly who was behind her that day has won the next day, so we hope she will run a good race.

“She is still learning and is a baby. She will be better as she gets more experience. We hope she will run well.”

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