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Sandown: Pastoral Pursuits reappears after lengthy layoff.

Byline: David Carr

WHEN your 2,000 Guineas hope reappears just two days before the Derby, you know all has not gone to plan.

However, Hughie Morrison has not lost faith in Pastoral Pursuits, who makes a belated start to the season tonight in the Listed IG Index 30th Anniversary Surrey Stakes at Sandown over seven furlongs.

The Bahamian Bounty colt has not run since completing a hat-trick in the Group 3 Sirenia Stakes at Kempton in September, after which he suffered a leg injury that needed an operation and forced him out of the big two-year-old races that autumn.

Newmarket was still on the agenda in the spring, and he was still being spoken of as a Classic contender ten days before the race, but Morrison said yesterday: "I think it was always a long shot for him to make the Guineas as he chipped a bone in his knee and needed three months off.

"We haven't forced him and we've

given him time."

With a view to today's race, Morrison warned: "I'm happy enough with him, but he will definitely need the run.

"It's quite a good race and it's new ground for him - round a bend and over a stiff seven furlongs. We want to find out what we've got.

"I suspect he's a sprinter but we want to see if he'll get the extra furlong - there are no opportunities for three-year-olds over six furlongs after May and he can't run in handicaps!"

Pastoral Pursuits holds entries in both the St James's Palace Stakes and the July Cup, and Morrison added: "I have no reason to think he hasn't trained on. He's a very nice horse, and if he doesn't show it at Sandown he will do some time this season."

Peak To Creek, who is being aimed at either the Jersey Stakes or the Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot, is sure to be race-fit as he runs just 12 days after finishing a close second in this grade at Newmarket.

"It's a tough call for him with his penalty but, having said that, this horse loves to race and is in great order," trainer Jeremy Noseda said on his website. "It will definitely not do him any harm to keep ticking over before Royal

Ascot."

Godolphin are represented by both Lingfield Listed winner Rosencrans and Catstar, who won the UAE 1,000 Guineas in Dubai in February.

Trainer Saeed Bin Suroor said: "Rosencrans has shown us plenty of speed and is a seven-furlong-to-a-mile horse, so this should really suit.

"Catstar has been working really well and has lots of speed. She should run a big race, but we'll learn a lot more about both of them after this."

Madid, who holds no entries at Royal Ascot but is in the Sussex Stakes, made an impressive winning debut in a mile maiden at Newbury last month.

"We were very pleased with his debut, but this is a big step up in class and we need to find out more about him," said Angus Gold, racing manager to Hamdan Al Maktoum.

"He's only won a maiden but hopefully he will progress. He's coming back in trip, but he quickened well at Newbury."

nSANDOWN'S course enclosure will not operate this evening. The enclosure in the middle of the course is open only about six days a year and not for any evening meetings.

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Pastoral Pursuits: will need the run according to trainer Hughie Morrison
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Jun 3, 2004
Words:578
Previous Article:Haydock: Desert Destiny expected to run `big race' on Godolphin debut.
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