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Elm Park set for Salisbury

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: August 29, 2014

By KEITH HAMER

Stepper Point, far left,  has a few options after pleasing trainer William Muir with his form

Stepper Point, far left, has a few options after pleasing trainer William Muir with his form

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Elm Park is set to take his chance at Salisbury today unless conditions deteriorate – in which case he would switch to Sandown for Saturday's European Wealth Solario Stakes.

Trainer Andrew Balding intends running the Phoenix Reach colt in the EBF Stallions Stonehenge Stakes, a Listed contest over a mile, at the Wiltshire track.

As a precaution, though, he declared Elm Park for the seven-furlong Group Three over an extended seven furlongs at the Esher venue.

"I think he'll run on Friday. I just wanted the insurance in case the ground was unsuitably soft at Salisbury," said Balding.

"We'll hoping to go to tomorrow unless the ground is very testing.

"He seems in good form. We'll find out how much he's come on after his next race."

Elm Park got off the mark at the second attempt when successful over 12 rivals in a seven-furlong maiden at Newbury two weeks ago.

Connections of Seismos are set to decide next week whether to give the Geoffrey Freer Stakes winner one more outing before shipping him over to Australia.

The six-year-old, owned by Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock, is being aimed at the Emirates Melbourne Cup and will either have a run in the Palmerstone House Estate Irish St Leger at the Curragh on September 14 or go into quarantine a day earlier and take in a prep Down Under.

"He's in good form. We're very happy with him and is probably in the best form he's been in so far. He looks great," said trainer Marco Botti.

"We haven't decided whether he will go into quarantine for the first shipment to Australia or whether we run him in the Irish St Leger.

"I think we will decide next week which way we go, but the plan is for him to take his chance in the Melbourne Cup.

"It's just whether he is going to have one more run over here and then just go for the Melbourne Cup or have two races down there instead. We're not quite sure yet.

"The first quarantine starts on September 13.

"The Irish Leger is the day after so if he goes for that race he will have to go on the second flight and go into quarantine two weeks later."

Trainer William Muir is plotting the next plan of attack for Stepper Point following another tremendous effort in defeat in last week's Nunthorpe at York.

Although the five-year-old has failed to win a single Group race so far during his career, he has proved himself a top-class sprinter this term, finding only Sole Power too strong in the King's Stand at Royal Ascot and on the Knavesmire last Friday.

Stepper Point could potentially meet Eddie Lynam's Irish star again in the Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh on Irish Champions Weekend, although Muir is considering alternatives.

He said: "He's come out of the race in great form and I'm very pleased with him.

"As far as I'm concerned, Sole Power is as classy a sprinter as there's been for years. Some sprinters are hit and miss, but he's solid and always seems to run his race.

"Because of the way he's ridden, he's susceptible to getting caught in traffic and he almost got caught the other day. If he had, we'd have been a lucky winner and he'd have been an unlucky loser.

"Our horse doesn't like coming down hills and that was what caught him out at Glorious Goodwood the time before last. I knew on a flatter track like York he'd beat the horses who beat him there and I was proved right.

"At the end of the day there are two five-furlong Group One sprints in Britain, the King's Stand and the Nunthorpe, and we've finished second to Sole Power in both. If you'd have offered me at the start of the season, would have I have taken it? Probably.

"We have three options now. There's the Flying Five in Ireland, which I believe Sole Power is going for, there's the Dubai Sprint at Newbury and there's the Prix du Petit Couvert in France."

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