Lead Artist aiming to take starring role at Newmarket

Juddmonte runner moves up to Listed level in Sir Henry Cecil Stakes.

Impressive York scorer Lead Artist will bid to give owners Juddmonte back-to-back victories in the Edmondson Hall Solicitors Sir Henry Cecil Stakes at Newmarket on Thursday.

Trained by John and Thady Gosden – who won this race with Mighty Ulysses the last time it was staged in 2022 – the son of Dubawi was narrowly denied in the Wood Ditton on debut before shedding his maiden status in real style on the Knavesmire.

He now makes the jump up to Listed level, where he could tee-up a step into even classier company if thriving in a race named after the man who enjoyed many great days training for the owners.

“He’s going to run on Thursday and he’s in good shape,” said Barry Mahon, Juddmonte’s European racing manager.

“We obviously bypassed Royal Ascot, which was hopefully the wise thing to do, and he’ll go there in good shape and he’s one that we’re looking forward to.

“It’s been a high-class race in the last couple of years to be fair and it’s a nice stepping-stone into those nice races in the second half of the season – races like the Sussex and the Marois.

“We’re hoping that Lead Artist can jump into that sort of level.”

A field of six will head to post for the one-mile event, with Charlie Hills’ unbeaten Socialite another chancing his arm at this level having impressed in calmer waters, while Oisin Murphy will once again partner the Mick Price and Michael Kent Jnr-trained Kitty Rose after her fifth in the Sandringham Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Al Musmak drops back to a mile at Newmarket
Al Musmak drops back to a mile at Newmarket (Tim Goode/PA)

Richard Fahey’s Native American and Charlie Appleby’s Bold Style will both be making the move up to a mile for this event, while Roger Varian’s Al Musmak was a winner over this trip last season before placing in the Royal Lodge and is one who now drops back in distance.

There may be only four in the opening Bahrain Trophy Stakes, but there looks to be a quality quartet engaged as connections seek to continue Space Legend’s education.

A part of Wathnan Racing’s pre-Ascot spending spree, the son of Sea The Stars had no answer for the impressive Calandagan in the King Edward VII Stakes, but has been pleasing trainer William Haggas since and now gets the chance to tackle an extra furlong.

“The slight step up in trip won’t harm him and I think this horse is going to stay,” said Wathnan’s racing adviser Richard Brown.

Space Legend (left) bumped into Calandagan at Royal Ascot
Space Legend (left) bumped into Calandagan at Royal Ascot (John Walton/PA)

“He ran a tremendous race at Ascot and just bumped into one, Calandagan looked a bit of a freak that day.

“He has come out of Ascot well and we were pondering whether to wait for Goodwood, but William has said he is fit, well and healthy and I think he is still a big baby who will get better with racing, so he is going to go and take his chance.

“Charlie Appleby runs Ancient Wisdom and he deserves a huge amount of respect, as does the rest of the opposition, it looks a tight little race.”

Andrew Balding’s Royal Supremacy was a place behind Space Legend in third at the Royal meeting, while it is Ancient Wisdom who heads the bookmakers’ lists for the Moulton Paddocks team.

Ancient Wisdom securing Group One honours at Doncaster last season
Ancient Wisdom securing Group One honours at Doncaster last season (Richard Sellers/PA)

A Group One winner at two, he was second to heralded Dante winner Economics at York on his return to action before finishing in mid-division in the Derby.

Ancient Wisdom has not been seen since Epsom, but now bids to give his handler a third Bahrain Trophy win in four years.

“They’ve had rain at Newmarket, although it looks as though the ground will be good to soft or probably nearer genuine good ground,” Appleby told www.godolphin.com.

“We feel that the step up in trip is going to be the most important thing for Ancient Wisdom and he goes there in good order.”

Aidan O'Brien will saddle Portland
Aidan O’Brien will saddle Portland (Damien Eagers/PA)

Aidan O’Brien’s Portland completes the line-up seeking to become his handler’s first winner of this race since Housesofparliament in 2016.

His jockey Ryan Moore told Betfair: “Ancient Wisdom looks the one to beat on his juvenile form, and then the others in here look pretty evenly matched, with King Edward VII runner-up Space Legend the up-and-comer of those.

“A winner over a mile and a half previously, Portland definitely shaped like a greater test of stamina would suit in the Hampton Court over 10 furlongs last time and he gets that here.”

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