View from connections: Betfred Victoria Cup
George Margarson runs two Ascot regulars in Imperial Guest and Excellent Guest in Saturday's Beftred Victoria Cup.
"Both love the track. Excellent Guest has probably got the better form when there's juice in the ground," said the Newmarket trainer.
"It was quite soft when he was second in the Buckingham Palace at Royal Ascot last year and he's got a similar draw.
"He's been working well and he won first time out last season.
"He's got top form in these races and goes there in good heart with a cracking chance.
"Imperial Guest has been third at Royal Ascot in the same race and is drawn on the other side of the course to Excellent Guest, which is a result.
"I think he's got the best side for the pace.
"The ground would half be a concern, but he has shown form in it and is getting that bit older. Hopefully it will dry out a bit."
Amy Weaver is hopeful that her bargain buy Tariq Too can build upon his recent success having made an encouraging start for his new connections when winning a 14-runner handicap at Thirsk last month.
The Newmarket trainer paid just 13,000 guineas for the Kyllachy gelding from out of David Simcock's stables and the five-year-old is now chasing a hat-trick following a victory for Simcock at Goodwood last September.
"The soft ground will be in his favour," said Weaver.
"It's a big step up from a Thirsk handicap to a competitive handicap at Ascot but from the way he won there he looks progressive.
"It's going to be competitive, but we've got a little chance, and we will have to see how the race pans out.
"There should be a good pace with it being a big field, so it's nice to have a hold-up horse.
"We don't really know about the draw (four) yet."
King Of Jazz ran a promising first race since joining Michael Bell's string when finishing strongly to take third placed behind Colonel Mak over six furlongs at Doncaster six weeks ago.
The Newmarket trainer is expecting a good run from the four-year-old gelding, who showed decent form when in the care of Richard Hannon.
"We've saved him for this race. It looked as though seven furlongs would be his optimum trip - though he ran well over a mile for Richard Hannon last year," said Bell.
"I thought that was a very pleasing performance at Doncaster over six furlongs last time.
"We've basically waited for this race. This prize is valuable and it's over seven which could prove to be his best trip.
"I think he'll run well."
Jim Goldie would like the ground to dry out for Hawkeyethenoo, who won this race last year.
"He likes the course and hopefully it will dry out a bit," said the Glasgow trainer.
"This has been his target since he ran at Ascot last year. He's in great order but I would just prefer better ground."
Goldie also saddles the 10-year-old Dhaular Dhar, who is having his 100th race under Rules.
"It would be a good day to win a big one. He's just got Hawkeye to beat!" he joked.
"He runs well fresh and he's got a very record on the straight course at Ascot. He's been placed a few times in these kinds of races.
"I give him a chance. He's reasonably handicapped, but I'd like the ground to dry out for him as well."He's got place prospects with a good 7lb claimer (Noel Garbutt) on him."
Brae Hill was fourth to Hawkeyethenoo in this race 12 months ago and connections have had another crack at this handicap in mind since he won the Lincoln at Doncaster in March.
"We've kept him for this race and we're keen to have a pop at it," said trainer Richard Fahey.
"I'd rather not have extreme conditions. I think he'd go on anything, but it's going to be a tough contest for everybody."
Darryll Holland rides top-weight Pastoral Player for Hughie Morrison.
"He's a very talented horse and just got it together at the back-end last year and won a nice race (Challenge Cup). That was over seven furlongs on the same track," the jockey told At The Races.
"He's the type who always runs well in a big field. He likes plenty of pace and that is the key to him.
"He is a back runner that comes through. He's contested the Ayr Gold and all these heritage handicaps. He's top weight because he always runs well in them."
Tadhg O'Shea is looking forward to getting the leg up on Global Village for Brian Ellison.
"Mr Ellison's horses are flying and he'll handle the ground," the jockey said.
"Paul Hanagan rode him the other day when he was third in a good handicap at Newbury. I spoke to him this morning and he said this horse will give me a good ride.
"I've got a couple of fancied ones drawn beside me. He needs a bit of holding on to, then we can weave our way through.
"It's a massive advantage when you know he'll handle the ground. He's got a low weight and it's a nice spare ride to have."