Tattersalls Sovereign Stakes | Group 3 | 1m | 3yo+ | RTV
Accidental Agent steps out of Group 1 and Group 2 company for the first time in over a year in a bid to get his head in front for the first time since his memorable surprise win in last year's Queen Anne at Royal Ascot.
Accidental Agent, photo Liesl King
Trainer Eve Johnson Houghton is hoping the easier pickings will help the five-year-old return to winning ways in Salisbury's feature which has attracted eight runners.
Accidental Agent has run some good races in defeat since his Group 1 breakthrough including a third in the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury in May but he refused to race when attempting a follow-up success at Royal Ascot in June.
The son of Delegator was last seen bringing up the rear behind Too Darn Hot in the Group 1 Sussex Stakes at Goodwood last month but he was far from disgraced to be beaten just five and a half lengths that day.
Johnson Houghton said: "I expect Accidental Agent to go really well. It looks a tight contest but if he brings his A game he should nearly win. Things did not go to plan in the Sussex Stakes and he did well to be beaten just over five lengths."
Mark Johnston and Andrew Balding are the only two trainers in the line up to have won this before and Johnston fields the progressive Marie's Diamond who is on a hat-trick after a game win in Listed company at Pontrefract last time.
The son of Footstepsinthesand had previously won a conditions event at Haydock and is seeking to give Johnston a second win in this contest following Sea Lord in 2010.
Tim Palin, racing manager to owners Middleham Park Racing said: "According to the experts, his performance in winning the Pomfret Stakes last time was a career-best. He's in the form of his life which he'll have to be as it looks a strong Group 3, almost a Group 2. He's drawn perfectly and should go very close."
Balding, who has won the race three times before relies on Flashcard, who ran out an impressive winner of a handicap at Ascot last time. The trainer said: "Flashcard has taken a few runs to get going but won well last time and deserves a crack at this level. It's a tough race and any further rain won't bother him."
William Haggas, trainer of Mojito
He deserves a crack at a Group 3 but will need the rain to arrive down there to aid his chances. The slower the better for him.
Richard Hannon, trainer of Tabarrak
He wasn't disgraced when sixth to Limato at Newmarket last time and should be suited by the return to a mile.
John Gosden, trainer of Kick On
He lost his way a little bit after winning the Feilden Stakes but has been working nicely and any rain would not be a problem to him.
Charlie Fellowes, trainer of King Ottokar
He had a lovely run at Royal Ascot. We felt that day, potentially, he didn’t quite get home. He was drawn wide and had to challenge wide, so he did well to finish third. We are dropping back to a mile off the back of that run which I hope will be okay. Ideally we want plenty of rain as it needs to be a bit of a stamina test. He's been working very well at home and fingers crossed for a good run.