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Dods hopeful of big run from Que Amoro at Royal Ascot
The Northern Echo's Chief Sports Writer, SCOTT WILSON, talks to Michael Dods ahead of Que Amoro's bid for Royal Ascot glory
MICHAEL DODS has trained some of the best sprinters in the country in the last decade or so, and the County Durham handler is hoping his latest speedster, Que Amoro, will deliver him a first Royal Ascot winner when she lines up in the King’s Stand Stakes tomorrow afternoon.
In Mecca’s Angel and Mabs Cross, Dods was responsible for two of the top five-furlong performers in Britain in the last few years. Mecca’s Angel won back-to-back Nunthorpes at York, while Mabs Cross claimed Group One honours in the Prix de l’Abbaye at Longchamp, but the best result that either horse achieved at Royal Ascot was the latter’s third-place finish in the King’s Stand in 2018.
Que Amoro posted her breakthrough performance at the highest level when she finished second in last year’s Nunthorpe, finishing a length behind star performer Battaash.
The pair lock horns again at Ascot tomorrow, with Tim Easterby’s emerging sprint force Winter Power also part of the field, and while Battaash might be a 2-1 favourite, with Que Amoro available at odds of around 14-1, Dods is hoping his five-year-old can spring a surprise.
“Hopefully, she’ll run a good race,” said the Denton-based trainer. “It’s one of the top sprint races in the country, so you’d never go into it saying you’re expecting to win, but I’m sure she’ll run well and we’ll see what happens.
“We’re looking forward to seeing how she goes. She’s done well through the winter and has been in really good form at home. She should like the ground – it’s generally a case of the quicker the better for her – and while the top sprinters are there lining up against her, she proved last season that she deserves her place in this type of company.”
Que Amoro will be making her seasonal debut, with her last outing having seen her finish down the field in the Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh last September.
The ground went against her that day, and while going into a Group One without a prep run is not necessarily ideal, Dods took Que Amoro for a racecourse gallop at Thirsk last week to help ensure she is fully tuned up for tomorrow's outing.
“It was nice of everyone at Thirsk to help us to do that,” said Dods. “It was good to get her out on a racecourse having a bit of a spin. Hopefully, it’ll just have helped get her to the kind of levels she’s going to have to be at for a race at Royal Ascot.
“It’s obviously difficult going into any race without a prep run – especially a Group One – but she looks well in herself and hopefully she’ll run well.”
Battaash also heads into the King’s Stand without a run this season, and after a winter setback delayed the reigning champion’s seasonal reappearance, his trainer, Charlie Hills, has been delighted with his preparation.
“Battaash came in a couple of weeks later than usual this year,” said Hills. “So we were never going to fit in a prep run, but I couldn’t be happier with him. They found a tiny hairline fracture in a sesamoid when he had his usual MOT at the end of last year, but that was attended to in December.
“They’ve done a great job with him over the winter, and spring was so awful that coming back later has probably helped him.”