Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Kent hopes Custom is a cut above

Custom Cut

Trainer George Kent believes Custom Cut heads to Epsom with a "fighting chance" of taking top honours in Friday's Investec Diomed Stakes.

The four-year-old enjoyed a fantastic mid-summer in 2012, winning races at Cork, Down Royal, Naas and the Curragh in little over a month. He then took his game to another level when making every yard of the running in the Gladness Stakes at the Curragh in April.

Custom Cut arrives in England off the back of another fine run when he finished a close second behind Duntle in Leopardstown's Amethyst Stakes.

Kent said: "He's come out of his last race in grand form and we are ready to go. The race has cut up quite a bit, which helps, and it would be nice if there is a bit of ease in the ground as well. He's not ground dependent, though, as it was as fast as he's ever gone on against Duntle the other day. He's a very well-balanced horse and travels very well in his races."

Heading the weights for the Group Three contest is the David O'Meara-trained Penitent, who takes a significant step down in grade having finished down the field in the Lockinge at Newbury almost a fortnight ago.

Nick Bradley, representing owners Middleham Park Racing, said: "We gave him the entry because it looked a fairly weak Group Three on paper. It's actually ended up being quite a decent race.

"It's probably coming a bit soon after his last race, but David says he's fine and with a horse like him there aren't that many opportunities, so we'll let him take his chance. Its probably 100 yards further than ideal for him, so we'll hold him up and try to come there late."

Richard Fahey's Gabrial comes back from a mile and a quarter to nine furlongs, having finished a close third in Chester's Huxley Stakes last time, and is also fitted with headgear.

Fahey said: "We're sticking a visor on him and coming back in trip, so we'll see what happens. He's in good form, but Epsom is Epsom and you never know how they will take to it. Only time will tell."

Roger Varian is concerned about the prospect of testing conditions for last year's winner Sri Putra, saying on his website, www.varianstable.com: "At the age of seven, Sri Putra seems in great form. His work has been good but unfortunately his best form is all on good or fast ground so soft ground is a concern."

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