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Spencer happy with Blanco berth

Jamie Spencer declared his satisfaction with Cape Blanco's Dubai World Cup draw after he was handed stall four.

Spencer has never ridden Aidan O'Brien's four-year-old, who had Saturday's big-race favourite Twice Over back in third when adding the Irish Champion Stakes to his Irish Derby victory last autumn

The jockey said: "I'd have been happy for anything between two and nine, we got four so that means all the options are open."

Twice Over will have to defy an unfavourable draw if he is to lift the World Cup at Meydan. The Henry Cecil-trained six-year-old was only 10th from stall 11 last year, and fared even worse with his gate position this time in 12 of the 14 runners.

He did, however, overcome stall 13 when impressively landing round three of the Al Maktoum Challenge over course and distance earlier this month.

Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to owner Khalid Abdullah, said: "He's going to need to be lucky again, but he was drawn wide in the Maktoum Challenge so hopefully it is a good omen. I wouldn't have chosen it, but there are two things in racing that you can't affect - one is the draw and the other is the going."

Saeed bin Suroor expects to see a more grown-up Poet's Voice in the World Cup. The clear first choice of three Godolphin representatives in the world's richest race, the colt will need to rediscover at least the form which saw him collect the Celebration Mile and QEII Stakes in Britain last summer.

There were encouraging signs when he was second to Wigmore Hall in his pipe-opener at the start of the month, but he is returning to 10 furlongs - a trip over which he did not excel in last October's Champion Stakes.

Bin Suroor said: "He was a Group One winner over a mile last year. He was too keen last year but this year he's a different horse. He's moving well and I'm happy with him. He needed the race the first time he ran - he was only 80% fit - but he worked really well the other day."

Gitano Hernando will break from eight for Marco Botti, who said: "That's the perfect spot, I wanted to be drawn in the middle because last year we got boxed in."


From Belfast Telegraph