Mizzou in great shape for Doncaster Cup
7 Sep 2016
Luca Cumani explains why leading stayer has not run since the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot three months ago
Mizzou became a rare dual winner of the Sagaro Stakes earlier this season. Picture: Racingfotos.com
Luca Cumani says that Mizzou is as well as he has been all season ahead of Friday’s 250th Doncaster Cup, which forms part of the QIPCO British Champions Series.
The five-year-old is officially the highest-rated runner in the final field of nine but has been absent since finishing runner-up to Order Of St George in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot almost three months ago.
Two other significant staying races have been run in the interim – the Qatar Goodwood Cup and Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup at York – which Cumani decided to swerve.
“Mizzou wouldn’t have been suited by Goodwood and York was too close to Doncaster, so we decided to wait,” the Newmarket handler explained. “The distance and the track will suit him.
“He’s the easiest horse on earth to train and get ready for a race. He can run well fresh, or not fresh, and we are happy with him. He’s in good shape, as well as you can have him.”
Mizzou has proved tremendously consistent in his ten races and, before the Gold Cup, had become the first since the mighty Double Trigger to win back-to-back renewals of the Longines Sagaro Stakes at Ascot.
“He’s very genuine, very generous and always puts his best foot forward,” Cumani said. “He can finish his race very well and [for a stayer] does quicken at the end of his races. He ran a very good race in the Gold Cup but unfortunately bumped into one that is a bit exceptional.”
First run in 1766, the Group 2 Doncaster Cup is the oldest race that still takes place under the Rules of Racing. It has been staged over two and a quarter miles since 1926, having taken place over a variety of distances, including four miles, before then.
Cumani has two previous winners on its roll of honour – Buckley in 1987 and Boreas in 2002. The latter won at the main expense of Persian Punch.
“It’s very difficult to compare horses from different generations but Mizzou would be as good as the pair of them and he goes there with a good chance,” Cumani said.
He added that Mizzou’s target after Doncaster would be the QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup on Champions Day at Ascot on October 15.
The opposition includes two horses who have won races in the Long Distance category of this year’s QIPCO British Champions Series – Clever Cookie, who landed the Betway Yorkshire Cup in May, and Quest For More, a convincing winner of the Lonsdale Cup at York last month.
Quest For More made all under George Baker on the Knavesmire, when Clever Cookie (fifth) and Curbyourenthusiasm (seventh) were behind.
The versatile Clondaw Warrior, beaten three quarters of a length in last year’s renewal, attempts to go one better, while Sheikhzayedroad, third in the Gold Cup and Goodwood Cup, would not be winning out of turn.
Sir Mark Prescott, successful with Pallasator 12 months ago, is represented by St Michel, who has won four handicaps this season. He seeks to become the first three-year-old winner of the race since Saddler’s Rock in 2011. Burmese, fifth in the Gold Cup, and the progressive filly Sweet Selection complete the field.