Promising filly Shengmu was a notable absentee from last Saturday’s cracking edition of the Listed Belgravia Stakes (1200m) at Ascot’s season-opening meeting.
Trainer Fred Kersley opted for a patient approach and held Shengmu back a week after he expressed concerns over her wide barrier against top opposition.
The daughter of Fath is in the midst of an outstanding debut campaign and tackles Ascot for the first time in the Seacorp 3YO Handicap (1100m).
Since her maiden appearance in July, Shengmu has racked up four wins from seven starts including the past three in succession.
Shengmu avoided top company in the Belgravia Stakes but the line-up she meets on Saturday will be fierce and intense.
Django and Cadenza are stepping out for their return campaigns after enjoying successful juvenile seasons.
Cuanzo showed he was up to the grade and backs up after a third to Disposition in the Belgravia Stakes
Silver Magic Ships has earned a cheque in all of her four starts and claimed a second win when storming over the top of Liberty’s Gem.
Silver Trace has been unplaced at her previous two appearances but a recent trial win over Arcadia Rose will lift her confidence.
Kersley says Shengmu, drawn perfectly in barrier four for apprentice, Lucy Warwick, is ready to run another bold race.
“We dodged the Belgravia because of her very bad draw and a very strong field,” said Kersley.
“I was hoping to meet a slightly weaker race.
“She has kept herself in very good condition and has held her form.
“She has been a terrific little horse in this preparation.
“She is in there with a very strong chance.”
Kersley hopes Ihtsahymn can reignite his Ascot carnival plans after a stuttering start in the Birthday Stakes (1200m) three weeks ago.
The reigning WA Horse of the Year trailed the field behind Modello but was discovered to have suffered cardiac arrhythmia.
Two trial hit outs has the son of Ihtiram back in the mix for Ascot’s main feature: the Group 3 Prince Of Wales Stakes (1200m).
He confronts an elite group of sprinters headed by Jim Taylor stable mates Barakey and Magnifisio and Grant Williams’ Amorino.
Ihtsahymn has drawn the widest in the field of eight.
“The barrier draw is going to hurt really bad,” said Kersley.
“I can see Barakey and a few of the others horse positioning a few lengths in front of him and with the speed on it will be hard for him to pull them back.
“The 1200m might test him at this stage of his career but not without a chance if things go his way.”
Ihtsahymn is being aimed at the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m) and the Kingston Town Classic (1800m).