ASCOT Gold Cup runner-up Mizzou bids to provide Luca Cumani with his third success in the 250th Doncaster Cup on Friday.
First run in 1766, the Group Two contest is the oldest race that still takes place under the Rules of Racing.
Cumani has won the prestigious prize twice before, with Buckley triumphing in 1987 and Boreas striking gold in 2002, and the Newmarket-based Italian believes his latest contender heads to Town Moor with strong claims.
Cumani said: “It’s very difficult to compare horses from different generations but Mizzou would be as good as the pair of them and he goes there with a good chance.”
Victorious in the last two renewals of Ascot’s Sagaro Stakes, the five-year-old ran a fantastic race when beating all bar Order Of St George in the Gold Cup in June.
“Mizzou wouldn’t have been suited by Goodwood and York was too close to Doncaster, so we decided to wait. The distance and the track will suit him,” said the trainer.
“He’s the easiest horse on earth to train and get ready for a race. He can run well fresh, or not fresh, and we are happy with him. He’s in good shape, as well as you can have him.
“He’s very genuine, very generous and always puts his best foot forward. He can finish his race very well and (for a stayer) does quicken at the end of his races.
“He ran a very good race in the Gold Cup but unfortunately bumped into one that is a bit exceptional.”
Clondaw Warrior is a major contender for all-conquering jumps trainer Willie Mullins.
Following a last-gasp victory in the Galway Hurdle, the nine-year-old reverted to the Flat in last month’s American St Leger and ran an excellent race to finish second.
Connections are keen for him to earn himself a starting berth in November’s Melbourne Cup and Patrick Mullins, the trainer’s son and assistant, is confident of a bold show.
He said: “We’re hoping he can win to secure his place in the Melbourne Cup. I think he’ll probably have to win to do that.
“It looks a hot race, with Mizzou and Quest For More in there. It’s a very competitive field.
“Our horse came back from Arlington in fantastic shape and looks a million dollars, so we’d be very hopeful of a big run.
“His last run over hurdles was his best run over hurdles and his run in Chicago was probably as well as he ever run on the Flat.
“We wouldn’t be surprised if he goes and does the business.”
Quest For More was not beaten far when ninth in last year’s Melbourne Cup, but although he impressed when winning the Lonsdale Cup at York three weeks ago, a return to Australia is not on his agenda.
“He came out of York really well and I thought long and hard about the Melbourne Cup, which he ran pretty well in last year really, but I don’t think the tempo of the race suits him,” trainer Roger Charlton told Racing UK.
“He is a thorough stayer, but he doesn’t really quicken a lot and I just don’t think he’s the right horse for that race.
“Hopefully the ground at Doncaster is quick, after which the race at Ascot (Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup) is definitely a possible.
“I really like the look of the the Dubai Gold Cup next March. It’s a fantastically valuable race and I think the conditions would suit him.”
David Simcock saddles Gold Cup and Goodwood Cup third Sheikhzayedroad as well as Curbyourenthusiasm.
The latter was runner-up in the Yorkshire Cup in May, but has failed to figure at Goodwood and York the last twice.
“Sheikhzayedroad is very consistent and you know he will run his race. He always runs very competitively,” Simcock said on his website.
“Curbyourenthusiasm comes off the back off two very disappointing runs – although there were reasons for both.
“We just hope for a dry day – he doesn’t want rain on the day. But he won the Mallard last year, so he likes the track and ‘d like to think he’ll be seen in a better light than his last two starts.”
Peter Niven runs stable star Clever Cookie, while St Michel is stepped up in grade by Sir Mark Prescott having won four of his last six starts in handicaps.
The Marcus Tregoning-trained Burmese and Sweet Selection from Hughie Morrison’s yard complete the line-up.