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Candy: “Limato the best I’ve had”

6 Mar 2017

Trainer says Diamond Jubilee Stakes and Darley July Cup will be summer objectives after trip to Dubai


Limato is reported to be in excellent fettle ahead of his return on Saturday fortnight.

Henry Candy today targeted a defence of Limato‘s Darley July Cup crown after declaring the QIPCO British Champions Series winner to be the “best horse I’ve ever had.”

Candy described last season’s dazzling display in the race as one of the personal highlights of his career and is keen to see if his superstar sprinter can repeat the feat.

Limato may also be aimed at the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot later this year, but first will head to Dubai where he will contest the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint at Meydan on March 25th.

Plotting a programme for his star after Dubai, Candy told British Champions Series: “July Cup obviously, Royal Ascot hopefully. He will probably be entered in various other races up to a mile but Plan A is definitely sprinting. If ground or horse health or anything like that goes against us, then we have a backup of alternatives.”

Candy also revealed he would take the sprinter to Kempton for a gallop before his departure, citing the recent wet weather as a major problem in his preparations.

“He’s in great form and I should think he’s probably a little bit short of work but he’s such a free goer all of the time that hopefully we’re nearly there.

“I would love to give him a bit of work on the grass but it just never stops raining. The horse hates soft ground and I think it would do him more harm than good.

“I shall probably go and ring [clerk of the course] Barney Clifford and see if we can organise a bit of a gallop at Kempton sometime this week and hopefully that would just about put him straight. He’s been ticking over for the last three months so he shouldn’t be too far away.”

Asked if Limato was the best horse he has trained, he replied: “I should think the answer’s yes. Airwave was a very, very good filly especially as a two-year-old.

“After she’d been beaten by Choisir on firm ground at Ascot [2003 Diamond Jubilee Stakes] she was never quite the same but she was seriously brilliant before then. This guy I think is very consistent, he keeps doing it year after year.”

The Al Quoz Sprint has increased in distance from five to six furlongs this year and that should help the cause of the Paul Jacobs-owned five-year-old, who was sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita when last in action.

He will join by other Series stars at the Dubai World Cup meeting, such as Postponed and Ribchester.

“It’s great to fly the British flag when competing on the global stage and especially lovely to be able to go to these big foreign meetings with a live contender,” Candy said.