Trainer Scott Dixon expects a big show from Dark Shot when he takes aim at the feature race at Beverley’s final meeting of the season on Tuesday.
The six-year-old gelding is one of seven declared runners for the £20,000 Eddie And Violet Smith Conditions Stakes – a race won by estimable sprinters like Tangerine Trees, Kingsgate Native and Alpha Delphini. Dixon has this season set the son of Acclamation some stiff challenges, with Dark Shot last in action in a Listed race at Doncaster – a grade at which he claimed second spot at York in July.
Dark Shot has also this campaign filled the same position in both the Epsom Dash and a class two sprint handicap at York, when Duke Of Firenze, who renews rivalry on the Westwood, had his number by a neck. Nottinghamshire-based Dixon said: “He’s tricky to win with, but we’ve always liked him and this looks a good opportunity for him.
“We’re pretty closely matched at the weights with Duke Of Firenze and if he can show his best form, you’d give him a good chance. The tactics were all wrong at Doncaster – he was too far back at the start and couldn’t get involved – so that run is probably best forgotten. It seems that the better company he’s in, the better he runs. He’s been in good form since Doncaster and we go there hopeful.”
Dark Shot’s cause is also aided by Dixon’s appointment of Ben Curtis, who is a maestro around the tricky Beverley sprint circuit. The James Tate-trained Kyllang Rock, who won so well at Nottingham last month, is likely to be sent off favourite for the valuable five-furlong sprint. Manton trainer Brian Meehan also saddles a rare Beverley runner in the shape of Amplify, who has already won three times this campaign.
The line-up is completed by a trio of course-and-distance winners in Fendale, Rapid Applause and Tarboosh. Beverley’s going on Monday morning was reported as being good, good to soft in places following 10 millimetres of rainfall on Sunday night. A cloudy afternoon with outbreaks of rain has been forecast for raceday.