Horton Planning First Royal Ascot Raid

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Yorkshire-based James Horton has made a flying start | Laura Green/Tattersalls

James Horton, who made a dazzling start to his training career with a treble at Redcar on Easter Monday, is now focusing his attention on saddling his first runners at Royal Ascot.

A former assistant to Sir Michael Stoute in Newmarket, Horton is now training at John and Jess Dance's Manor House Farm stables in Middleham. He plans to run Sunday's York sprint winner Asjad (GB) (Iffraaj {GB}) at the Royal meeting as well as  the G2 July S. third Sam Maximus (GB) (Showcasing {GB}).

“The Wokingham is the plan next,” said Horton of 4-year-old Asjad, who was bought from Shadwell at the Tattersalls Horses-in-Training Sale and has won two of his three starts since joining his stable. 

“I think Ascot will suit him, I think he wants a level track. I probably shouldn't have run him at Newmarket, he hated the track and I probably brought him back a bit quick after Redcar. So he'll have a nice bit of time now between York and the Wokingham and that will be plan A.”

The G1 Commonwealth Cup is on the cards for Sam Maximus, who has made just one start for Horton, finishing third in the Listed Carnarvon S. on May 14 at Newbury after being group-placed at two for Tom Dascombe. 

“He was only just up to a race when we ran him, he kind of needed a race to bring him forwards,” said Horton, who has now saddled seven winners from his 25 runners to date.

“I thought he ran really well and he just got tired in the last half-furlong, he had a real good blow and I think he should step forward from that.

“He's in the Commonwealth Cup and the two that finished in front of him at Newbury will probably run in it. They were match-fit and we went there half expecting to blow up, so I'd like to think he could get closer to them with another effort and the plan is to run him at Ascot and go from there.”

He added, “The programme for 3-year-old sprinters kind of maps itself out. We'll then see if he can mix it with the best sprinters or maybe have to go back and find a little Listed race somewhere.”

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