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Ascot hosts clash of the decade

Cyrname’s trainer, Paul Nicholls, more bullish by nature, has no such worries. “I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “It’s always been the target, he had a great prep, we took him to Wincanton for a gallop, which we’ve never been able to do before, and he was awesome.”

He puts Cyrname’s sudden improvement half way through last season down to maturity. “He was not breathing in his races and I think he was trying to do it all on one breath,” he said.

“A year ago we wouldn’t have been able to take him to Wincanton, but after his first two runs something suddenly clicked. I’m confident those last two starts weren’t flashes in the pan. I see the difference in him at home although, of course, it is in the back of your mind he has to go and do it again, but I’m confident he’s in serious order.” The third runner, the 66-1 shot Solomon Grey, is better than his last but not good enough to trouble either of these.

Despite having to play second fiddle to Ascot’s clash of the titans, the Betfair Chase at Haydock is equally fascinating in its own way.

Colin Tizzard’s Lostintranslation is the rave horse for the Gold Cup, but it would be no disgrace to lose to course specialist Bristol De Mai, who goes for a third Betfair today.

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