Time to look at Royal Ascot feature

J A McGrath

Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby is confident Endless Time can book herself a ticket to Royal Ascot by winning Friday's G2 Yorkshire Cup, in which she faces seven rivals.

The daughter of Sea The Stars has not run for 208 days, yet Appleby expects her to be forward enough to see off some talented opposition on the third day of the York Dante meeting.

She has not been seen on a racecourse since finishing a solid second to Vazirabad in the G1 Prix Royal-Oak at Saint-Cloud in October but Appleby has been pleased with her progress.

"I am delighted the way she has wintered," the trainer reported. "She's in very good condition. The (expected soft) ground will suit, and so, too, will the trip. It's a good starting point for the season," he added.

Endless Time holds an entry in the G1 Ascot Gold Cup at the Royal Meeting on June 22, a target that seems feasible in view of her good record and staying prowess.

"I thought her two runs at the end of last season were her best," Appleby said. "She was an excellent second in the G1 Prix Vermeille and then followed up with a very good second to Vazirabad in the Royal-Oak.

"She is one we have been very much looking forward to seeing on the racecourse again," he added.

The Queen's Dartmouth, on 118, is the highest-rated in the Yorkshire Cup field, with Endless Time (114) second top, followed by Simple Verse (113) and Muntahaa (113).

Dartmouth has not run since finishing second to Erupt in the G1 Canadian International at Woodbine, Canada last October. The step up to 1m 6f is only a half-furlong increase on the longest he has previously tackled but it takes him very definitely into the specialist stayers' bracket.

Muntahaa was fourth in last year's G1 St Leger, and earlier this year won the G3 John Porter Stakes at Newbury. Simple Verse has won two races since her victory in the 2015 St Leger at Doncaster but appears to have held her form well.