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J J The Jet Plane (Ryan Moore) - Windsor

J J The Jet Plane: Everything in J J The Jet Plane's favour - De Kock

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker/racingpostpix.com  

Everything in J J The Jet Plane's favour - De Kock

MIKE DE KOCK is in confident mood as he prepares to saddle South African speedball J J The Jet Plane in the Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot on Saturday.

The five-year-old is unbeaten in his native country, with the only defeat of his career so far coming on the Nad Al Sheba dirt in February.

He put that disappointment behind him by returning to winning ways back on the turf in Dubai - and also showed he is equally effective on British soil when running away with a Listed race at Windsor.

"I'd say he has definitely come on a bit since Windsor and, thankfully, we have had no interruptions since then. We just have to see if he's good enough now," said de Kock.

"I do think it's an advantage that he's been over here a while as he's settled in well now and has already travelled to a racecourse - that all helps as he can be a bit fired up.

"He's drawn nine of 14 and that gives the jockey all the options. Everything is in his favour and the fast ground is 100 per cent ideal."

The trainer added: "You have got to respect Sacred Kingdom after the way he ranin Singapore and of the locals, I suppose there is King's Apostle who I know a little bit about.

"Kingsgate Native won last year but he has been to stud and come back, so that's not ideal for him.

"We arehopeful and I do believe the horse is good enough, but we will see."

Kingsgate Native was mightily impressive 12 months ago and although returning a stallion to training is not the easiest of tasks, Cheveley Park Stud's racing manager Chris Richardson believes he is an even stronger colt this year than last.

kingsgate Native

Kingsgate Native: failed at stud

  PICTURE: Martin Lynch  

"It's disappointing that he failed at stud and we're obviously hoping the fact he missed out on his early season preparations as a result of covering mares won't be a hindrance to him," said Richardson.

"Obviously it's a very tough, international race so we'll see.

"From what we've seen he still has the old sparkle, but obviously he now has to go and do it on the track.

"He's got the ability and looks great in himself and he's much stronger than he was last year."

Hong Kong challenger Sacred Kingdom showed he had lost none of his dash when beating an international field in Singapore on his latest start.

Trainer Ricky Yiu is happy his representative has been drawn in stall eight.

"It's not a bad draw," Yiu told www.hkjc.com.

"It also suits that we have one of our main dangers (J J The Jet Plane) alongside us.

"He's in great order. The horse loves the cooler climate and the natural environment is so different to Hong Kong.

"It's all very exciting and I'm not worried about the opposition.

"If Sacred Kingdom can perform like he did in Singapore or like when he won the international sprint in Hong Kong, then he will be very, very competitive."

Karl Burke is confident recent Group 3 winner Lesson In Humility can take the step up in grade in her stride.

"She's in great form and came out of the Leopardstown race really well," said Burke.

"She's travelled down to Ascot fine and we just have to keep our fingers crossed for a big run.

William Haggas

William Haggas: draw a concern

  PICTURE: Mark Cranham  

"Fast ground is her ground and it is just a question of whether she is up to this level.

"The draw is perfect (stall 10) as we are drawn next to the two favourites so we have to be happy with that."

King's Apostle is arguably the best hope of keeping the prize in Britain, having finished second to Utmost Respect in the Duke of York Stakes last time when conceding 3lb.

He raced without a visor that day, but the sole time William Haggas has applied the headgear he won the Diadem Stakes over course and distance.

Haggas is, however, concerned about the five-year-old's drawin gate 12.

"We've decided to put the visor back on tomorrow," said the trainer.

"He ran a great race at York and I was thrilled to bits with him.

"He's in good form, the ground is right for him and we're hopeful.

"He's drawn 12, which is not ideal. Scenic Blast won from 15 earlier in the week but a lot of water has been put on since then."

Michael Bell's Art Connoisseur appeared to have the world at his feet when winning last year's Coventry Stakes, but has failed to get his head in front since.

The Newmarket trainer said: "I'd like to say he is in the same form as he was 12 months ago but even if he was, it's still going to be a very tough race.

"He put up a devastating performance in the Coventry last year and a repeat of that will see him involved in the finish, but it would be very bold of me to say he's going to win.

"He'll be really suited by everything tomorrow but it's just a question of whether he's good enough."

Australian speedster Takeover Target will not be taking his chance, though, after a temperature ruled out Joe Janiak's star.

 

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