Andrew Balding’s Beat The Bank seeking the hat-trick in Friday’s Shadwell Joel Stakes at Newmarket racecourse

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ANDREW BALDING has swerved a trip to France to instead run Beat The Bank in Friday’s Shadwell Joel Stakes.

Since arriving from Ireland the three-year-old has won four of his five starts, with his only defeat in the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot.

 Beat The Bank started off his career with Balding when winning at Newmarket

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Beat The Bank started off his career with Balding when winning at Newmarket

“Beat The Bank has not been seen out for almost two months because we decided to give him a little break and miss the Celebration Mile, but I am very happy with him,” said Balding.

“He was also entered in a Group 2 at Chantilly on Saturday but we opted to go for this instead because it was closer to home and because he already has form on the Rowley Mile.

 Beat The Bank was last seen impressively winning at Goodwood

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Beat The Bank was last seen impressively winning at Goodwood

“He has done everything that I have asked of him both at home and on the racetrack, apart from one blip at Royal Ascot, and seems to be a very solid individual.

“I am keen not to get ahead of myself with him, and only time will tell just how good he could be, but he does hold an entry in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on Qipco British Champions Day.”

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Sir Michael Stoute’s Mustashry is finally living up to his tall reputation and was a cosy winner of the Strensall Stakes last time out.

Owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum’s racing manager Angus Gold said: “This has always looked the obvious race for him since his win at York, he’s had a nice break.

 Mustashry is on an upward curve

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Mustashry is on an upward curve

“I was very impressed with him there, I thought he was impressive in a decent race and he’s a horse Sir Michael has always had a lot of time for.

“He’s a powerful horse, a real galloper, obviously love to see him stay in training but that will be up to Sheikh Hamdan.”

 Connections have galloped Whisky Baron at Newmarket

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Connections have galloped Whisky Baron at Newmarket

Adding an international flavour is the South African challenger Whisky Baron, the top performer in his homeland.

Trainer Brett Crawford told At The Races: “We’ve got plans to prepare him to go to Hong Kong in December. Since we gelded him he’s won five in a row, including a Group 1. I think he’s a horse we’ve still not got to the bottom of.

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“I’m very excited about him. He’s had a very good preparation.

“Friday will be part of his preparation towards Hong Kong, but going into a Group Two in England you can’t go into the race needing the run or being unfit, so we’ve done a lot of work on him and he’s in a very good place at the moment.

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“He’s a big horse and wouldn’t like soft ground, so we are hoping the weather gods are on our side.

“We took him to Newmarket last Monday to see the course. He did struggle a little with the undulations. We did expect that which is why we took him to see the track.

 Aidan O'Brien saddles two in the race

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Aidan O’Brien saddles two in the race

“He’s a fast learner and has got better at every track he’s been to. I think it was a good call taking him to see the track and hopefully it will work out on Friday.”

Aidan O’Brien runs two, Sir John Lavery, viewed by many as unlucky in the Boomerang Stakes last time out, and Whitecliffsofdover.

 Zonderland (blue cap) looks to have a good chance

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Zonderland (blue cap) looks to have a good chance

Clive Cox’s Zonderland ran a huge race on his return after a year off at Goodwood.

“That was a huge performance after being off for so long and he only lost in a head-bob,” said Cox on At The Races.

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“I’d be a little concerned if we got too much rain but he’s had a few weeks since Goodwood and I’m hopeful he can run a big race.”

Ruth Carr’s Sovereign Debt, David O’Meara’s Custom Cut and Charlie Hills’ Jallota complete the field.

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