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RACING: Bated Breath's Ascot potential excites Charlton
11:00am Monday 28th May 2012 in Sport
BECKHAMPTON trainer Roger Charlton believes Bated Breath could put in an even better performance at Royal Ascot than he did when smashing the track record in Saturday's Temple Stakes at Haydock.
The five-year-old was narrowly denied in three Group Ones over six furlongs last season and with the incredible Australian mare Black Caviar heading for the six-furlong Diamond Jubilee Stakes at the Royal meeting, Charlton was keen to test his charge over five furlongs on Merseyside.
Bated Breath came through the examination with flying colours as he showed tremendous pace en-route to beating last year's winner Sole Power and the King's Stand Stakes is now his most likely next objective.
"We're all very pleased with him," said Charlton.
"There was quite a lot of pressure as we did need to win a Group race with him at some stage, so at least we've got that box ticked.
"I was very impressed by the speed he showed. He has enough speed to lead the fastest horses around and two furlongs down the others were flat to the boards.
"In the past we have trained him to run over six furlongs and getting him to settle and other than the Nunthorpe, when he was drawn on the wrong side, we haven't gone down the five-furlong avenue until yesterday.
"That was a question going into the race, but he answered it well and as long as the owner is happy, the King's Stand must be considered as his next option.
"If we can get a fast-run race at Ascot and manage to get a lead, I think there is every chance we might see an even better horse."
Bated Breath remains second in the betting behind the unbeaten Black Caviar for the Diamond Jubilee Stakes and while the King's Stand is now his primary target, Charlton is not completely ruling out running in both races.
"It's an impossible question to answer at this stage," said the trainer.
"We're just going to have to wait until nearer the time. Nothing is impossible."
Meanwhile, Charlton has confirmed Top Offer as an intended runner in the Betfair Heron Stakes at Sandown on Thursday.
The Beckhampton trainer has always held the three-year-old in high regard and he was one of the most impressive juvenile maiden winners of 2011 when he bolted up at Newbury last August.
The early-season wet weather meant Charlton was unable to get a trial run into his Khalid Abdullah-owned colt before the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket and he failed to make much impact in the Classic, finishing 16th of the 18 runners.
The trainer believes his charge will be much better on the surface he will encounter on Thursday evening, although the Listed contest will be no walk in the park with some talented opponents pencilled in to run.
"He is an intended runner at this stage and I've been pleased with him at home," said Charlton.
"Fast ground is a definite requirement for him, so hopefully he'll get that. If it happened to end up like the ground at Newmarket, he definitely wouldn't run.
"I'm happy with how he has been working and it looks as though plenty of nice horses will turn up on Thursday, so it should be a good test."
Charlton has yet to finalise any plans for Abdullah's Dubai Duty Free winner Cityscape, who failed to fire in the Champions Mile in Hong Kong earlier this month.
The six-year-old does hold an entry in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot, but as that is the target of the world's highest rated racehorse Frankel, who also carries Abdullah's colours, he is unlikely to take up that engagement.
"There aren't any definite plans for him yet. He's just enjoying a bit of sunshine," said the trainer.
"He won't run in the Queen Anne against Frankel, but I have left him in in case something changes with their plans. Then it could be a possibility for Cityscape."
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