Botti doesn't want soft ground for Moohaajim
Exciting two-year-old Moohaajim remains on course for the Group 1, £150,000 Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket on Future Champions Day, Saturday, after exercising this morning during a media visit to Marco Botti's Green Ridge Stables in Newmarket.
The son of Cape Cross produced an electric turn of foot under Adam Kirby when running out a comfortable 1 3/4-length winner of the Group 2 Mill Reef Stakes over six furlongs at Newbury on September 22. He finished a never-nearer fifth in the Group 1 Prix Morny at Deauville in August after scoring decisively on his racecourse debut in a six-furlong maiden at Ascot in July.
"We went to Newbury with confidence," Botti said. "It's always dangerous to say beforehand that 'we're going to win,' but we were confident.
"Adam Kirby had sat on him and said, 'he's definitely one of the best two-year-olds I've ever ridden.' So we were positive, but at halfway I thought we were in trouble -- I couldn't see a gap. He was boxed in, traveling well but I couldn't see how he was going to come out of there.
"So he had to just try and make a gap. Once he had daylight, he was always in control of the race.
"He came out of the race in very good order and we have been very happy with the horse. He had an easy piece of work at the weekend and went fine, so it's so far, so good.
"It would be frustrating and a big concern if the ground went too soft because he is a good mover. By Cape Cross, in theory, he should handle a little bit of cut, but I wouldn't like to try him on soft ground yet.
"I think eventually he will get a mile. I wouldn't be concerned to step him up to seven furlongs this year, but just because the Middle Park and Dewhurst are on the same day, it makes sense to stick at six.
"The way he settles in his races, I can't see why he wouldn't stay further. Physically, there's still some growing in him, so next year he will be stronger. I think he will be a miler."
Moohaajim is among 12 confirmations for the exciting six-furlong contest and is likely to clash again with Clive Cox's unbeaten Prix Morny hero Reckless Abandon as well as Group 2 Gimcrack Stakes scorer Blaine, trained by Kevin Ryan.
The unbeaten Group 1 Vincent O'Brien Stakes winner Dawn Approach, trained by Jim Bolger and owned by Godolphin, heads 15 confirmations for the Group 1, £300,000 Dewhurst Stakes over seven furlongs, also on Saturday.
"I've been very fortunate in having four horses that could win the Dewhurst Stakes," Bolger said. "Hopefully this fellow will be the fifth. One thing that they very much have in common is the will to win. After that, there would not be a lot of similarities.
"(His sire) New Approach was highly charged, and it was a bit of a struggle to keep the lid on him, but this fellow is quite laid back, even lazy in his races. He is very relaxed, and I don't have any horses that sleep longer than he does, but he seems to have the same ability as New Approach."
Ireland's champion trainer Aidan O'Brien has eight remaining entries headed by Cristoforo Columbo, while owner Prince Khalid Abdulla could be represented by Group 3 Acomb Stakes winner Dundonnell and John Gosden's unbeaten Ashdan. The Richard Hannon-trained Havana Gold, winner of four of his six starts, is another to be considered.
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