Cowell Hoping His Duo Can Tame the Dragon at Haydock 

Robert Cowell | Tattersalls

Roger Varian is expecting Dragon Symbol (GB) (Cable Bay {Ire}) to leave his stable debut effort behind when he lines out in the feature L. Betfred Nifty Fifty Achilles S. at Haydock on Saturday, however, Robert Cowell believes his duo of Clarendon House (GB) (Mehmas {Ire}) and Atalis Bay (GB) (Cable Bay {Ire}) can put it up to the favourite as the trainer bids for a second win in the race. 

Dragon Symbol faces a retrieval mission after disappointing in the G2 Duke Of York Clipper Logistics S. on his first star for Varian and Cowell won't be making it easy for the colt on his retrieval mission. 

Cowell, who won this race seven years ago with popular veteran Kingsgate Native (Ire) (Mujadil), believes Clarendon House and Atalis Bay can cause a surprise. 

He said, “Both of our horses are in good order and they'll be trying their best. Dragon Symbol needs to bounce back from a disappointing run at York. If he does I'm sure he'll take all the beating, but if not, hopefully we'll be picking up the pieces.”

There will be heightened interest in how Atalis Bay performs after Kevin Blake, the popular ITV racing pundit and breeder, told TDN Europe of the lengths he went to in tracking the sprinter's dam down in Belgium, where she had spent a brief time as a carriage horse. 

Atalis Bay, who kick-started Blake's desire to track the mare down, won five times for Marco Botti, including a victory over this course and distance, before changing hands for 130,000gns in October.

After making a satisfactory debut for his new connections in the Palace House at Newmarket in April, Cowell is predicting plenty of improvement.

He said, “Atalis Bay just needed his run in the Palace House and he's in really good form and doesn't mind a bit of cut in the ground from what we can see.

“Newmarket is probably not the ideal track for him with the uphill finish and a sharp track like Haydock should suit him much better.” 

On Clarendon House, the trainer added, “He missed the break the other day in France and would have been a lot closer if that hadn't happened.

“We're hoping he's [up to] this level and maybe in time he might get better. He's quite a nice, progressive sprinter.”

Dragon Symbol finished runner-up four times in pattern company last season and was third in the Nunthorpe before making the switch to Varian's from Archie Watson. 

Predicting a much better performance from the colt, Varian said, “He's come out of his run at York well and he's worked nicely, so he's ready to run again.

“We were disappointed at York but we can't find a reason for it-perhaps he just ran a bit fresh and needed it. He looks in good shape, so hopefully we can get back on track on Saturday.”

He added, “It looks a good opportunity on paper and he should cope with the ground and the drop back to five furlongs, so we're looking forward to running him again.”

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