17 May 2024

Upwardly mobile Ice Max has Sandown option

17 May 2024

Karl Burke is undecided as to whether to let the progressive Ice Max take his chance in the Chasemore Farm Stud Staff Heron Stakes at Sandown on Thursday.

The three-year-old began the season rated 89, but two wide-margin victories at Bath and Musselburgh have left the handicapper with no choice but to raise his mark to 109, a full 20lb higher.

Burke and owner Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum are planning to step Ice Max up in trip at some stage, but the Leyburn handler is minded to give him one more run over a mile before heading to Royal Ascot.

Burke said: “I’m not sure if he’s going to run or not yet. Sheikh Obaid is keen to step him up in trip. I’d like to run him once more over a mile and then maybe run him in the Group race at Royal Ascot over 10 furlongs (Hampton Court Stakes).

“He’s progressed rapidly and he was very impressive last time out. I just need to have a think.”

Ice Max is one of 13 entries for the Heron Stakes, with Richard Hannon’s Son, the William Haggas-trained Remaadd and Kikkuli from Harry Charlton’s yard among his potential rivals.

The latter is a Kingman half-brother to the great Frankel and having opened his account at Newmarket’s Craven meeting last month, could now test the water at Listed level.

Several unbeaten juveniles are in contention for the Orbital Veterinary Services National Stakes, including Hannon’s Hawaiian, the Dominic Ffrench Davis-trained Enchanting Empress and a couple of potential Irish raiders in Make Haste (Diego Dias) and Rock N Roll Rocket (Jessica Harrington).

John and Thady Gosden’s pair of Sweet William and Trawlerman and Alan King’s veteran stayer Trueshan are among the likely contenders for the Group Three Henry II Stakes, while Charlton’s Gordon Richards victor Okeechobee is one of seven in the mix for the feature Brigadier Gerard Stakes.

Okeechobee narrowly denied Desert Hero over the course and distance four weeks ago and could lock horns with Isle Of Jura following his profitable winter campaign in Bahrain for George Scott.

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