Western Daily Press

Walker has dreams of Ascot glory

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ED Walker has twin Royal Ascot targets firmly in focus for his two smart sprinters Came From The Dark and Starman.

Came From The Dark is an intended runner in the King’s Stand Stakes next month - irrespecti­ve of whether Battaash is fit again in time to defend his title - and Walker hopes to have Starman in action at the top level too, four days later in the Diamond Jubilee.

The Lambourn trainer just needs to fine-tune their respective routes to Ascot first, of course - which in Came From The Dark’s case is likely to be a Haydock assignment this month, or a rest, while Starman is all set to return at York next week.

Came From The Dark found things just going against him in last weekend’s Palace House Stakes, in which he had to settle for a neck second behind Lazuli after meeting trouble in running.

“He was desperatel­y unlucky,” said Walker. “I was obviously thrilled with the way he ran, but I can’t help but feel we should’ve won.”

It was nonetheles­s a promising performanc­e from the grey, who in three runs so far at the start of his five-year-old campaign is beginning to fulfil his potential.

Starman was unbeaten in his first three career starts - including a Listed race at York - and Walker has high hopes again for his sixfurlong specialist, starting back at the Knavesmire.

Walker is aware he is setting the four-year-old a searching task, but is keen to give him practice.

He said: “The Duke of York’s obviously going to be a very tough starting point, and he’s still a relatively inexperien­ced sprinter - and I think experience counts for a lot with them, which is why they tend to get better with age. They get stronger, but (also) they get more battle-hardened.

“So Duke of York, then straight to Ascot, is a big ask - but he’s exceptiona­lly talented.”

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