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Lancashire Telegraph Racing Column
7:29am Thursday 19th June 2014 in Sport
Brown Panther can continue his progression by landing the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot for trainer Tom Dascombe and part-owner Michael Owen.
Owen has thrown himself head first into the racing game after his retirement from football and he is fortunate to be able to still be involved in sport at the highest level.
Brown Panther was bred by Owen himself out of his mare, Treble Heights, so the success he has enjoyed with the six-year-old surely means more to him than if he had just opened his cheque book.
Already a winner at the Royal meeting having taken the King George V Stakes at three, he has also finished second in the St Leger and run well in the Melbourne Cup for connections.
He appears to have really matured this season as he always needed plenty in his favour to show his best in previous years, but this campaign has seen him hack up at Chester and win the Henry II Stakes - arguably the best trial for this - in great style at Sandown.
It is hard to see anything that finished behind him there turning the tables, as the extra trip should suit the selection given he was going away at the line, so it appears he has Leading Light to beat.
Last year's St Leger winner looked as good as ever when beating a solid field in the Vintage Crop Stakes on his return, but there has to be stamina doubts about him, despite the Aidan O'Brien-trained colt winning the Queen's Vase last year over two miles.
He was much the best horse in that so did not win through stamina and that extra four furlongs may just seem an awful long way.
Vazira can give Alain de Royer-Dupre a win for France in the Ribblesdale Stakes.
The lightly-raced Aga Khan filly managed to finish third in the Prix Saint-Alary on just her third ever start, although the form did not get the chance to be tested in the Prix de Diane as the winner, We Are, missed the race with a setback.
The selection was a beaten favourite that day which suggests she is highly thought of at home and given the best of the European fillies ran in the Oaks, this is there for the taking as it does not look the strongest renewal of the Group Two.
The Norfolk Stakes can go to Mukhmal, trained in Middelham by Mark Johnston.
This Bahamian Bounty colt showed good speed to win on his debut at Musselburgh but his next performance at Chester was even more eyecatching.
Having been drawn in a supposedly unfavourable stall 10 in the Lily Agnes, he blasted out and was able to grab the rail before being given a breather and kicking on again.
It cannot be stressed enough how hard it is to win from an outside draw over the minimum trip at Chester so he must possess a huge amount of pace, which is what you need to win this.
Cannock Chase looks like being hard to beat in the Tercentenary Stakes for Sir Michael Stoute.
Second on his only start last season, he had no trouble breaking his maiden first time out this year at Windsor and went on to win the London Gold Cup at Newbury.
It would be no surprise to see Cannock Chase in top-class company but to live up to those expectations he must be winning a Group Three, despite official ratings suggesting he has plenty to find with a few of his rivals.
Hors De Combat was an easy winner at Newmarket last time out and might just be underestimated in the Britannia Stakes.
James Fanshawe had him in the 2000 Guineas until he finished only fourth at Newbury on his return, but that form has worked out well with the winner Muwaary going on to be fourth in the French Guineas.
Elite Army was an easy winner of what looked a tight handicap on paper at Sandown and should go close in the King George V Stakes.
Not much went right for him there and the slow pace was not in his favour, but the fact he could still win so well suggests he had plenty left in the tank.
At Lingfield, Chesil Beach is the choice in the Heart FM 97.5 FM Handicap while Hit The Jackpot can regain the winning thread in Ripon's Ladies Day Handicap.
Molly Ahoy should go well in the Harrington Handicap at Leicester with course specialist Shades Of Silk likely to go well again in the Like Us On Facebook Southwell Racecourse Handicap at the Nottinghamshire venue.
Master Malt can secure make it two wins on the spin the Mercedes-Benz South Wales Novices' Hurdle at Ffos Las.
ROYAL ASCOT: 2.30 Mukhmal, 3.05 CANNOCK CHASE (NAP), 3.45 Vazira, 4.25 Brown Panther, 5.00 Hors De Combat, 5.35 Elite Army.
FFOS LAS: 6.10 Master Malt, 6.40 High Kite, 7.15 Mist The Boat, 7.45 High Ville, 8.20 Temple Lord, 8.50 Bedouin Bay, 9.20 Speed Steed.
LEICESTER: 6.00 Molly Ahoy, 6.30 Azraff, 7.05 Licence To Till, 7.35 Circumvent, 8.10 Clock Opera, 8.40 Di's Gift, 9.10 Arctic Lynx.
LEOPARDSTOWN: 5.55 Rule The Waves, 6.25 Que Sera Sera, 7.00 Pit Stop, 7.30 Naoise, 8.05 Big Break, 8.35 Pirate Cove, 9.05 Moon Dice.
LINGFIELD: 5.50 Power Play, 6.20 El Duque, 6.55 Clapperboard, 7.25 Meddling, 8.00 Chesil Beach, 8.30 Poyle Vinne, 9.00 Johnny Splash.
RIPON: 2.10 Godric, 2.45 Hamoody, 3.20 Fine Vintage, 4.00 Hit The Jackpot, 4.35 Operateur, 5.10 Ypres, 5.45 Border Bandit.
SOUTHWELL: 2.20 Vodka Wells, 2.55 Two Moons, 3.30 Denton Dawn, 4.10 Lacey, 4.45 Wildcat Lass, 5.20 Shades Of Silk, 5.55 Sweet Cherry.
DOUBLE: Cannock Chase and Vazira.
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