"Stone of Folca" ready to race

Stone of Folca, ready to race Credit: ITV Meridian

"Stone of Folca" won at Epsom and set the fastest five-furlong time since electronic measuring was introduced. Tomorrow, he goes to Royal Ascot with hopes high again.

"This is a completely different track, a completely different type of track" says trainer John Best. "It's much stiffer so it's going to take a lot more getting. Having said that we're drawn really well, we've got a very high draw which is right up against the stands side rail. That's where we want to be and we're hopeful."

With his best results on good to firm ground, the recent weather could be a deciding factor. Says Best: "At the moment we've had so much rain up there and our horse definitely wants quick ground. This morning they're saying the ground is on the soft side of good although the weather forecast is very good, it looks as though it's going to dry up befor the race. So we're hopeful but this is a big step up in class and he needs to raise his game again."

But a calming influence from the stable lads is vital to steadying the beast before it gets to the starting stalls, as stable lad Christopher Williams explains:-

"You need to lead him around just so he gets used to the people being there and you need to keep him calm all the time because otherwise he'll be very temperamental in the paddock and start messing around before he gets down to the race and does what he needs to do, and you want to keep him as calm as possible."

If he wins, the horse becomes one of the premier sprinters in the world and rockets his value - good news for members of the Folkestone Racecourse Owners Group, the syndicate which owns the horse. And good news too for everyone at the stables, not least of all the head Lad, Craig Williams:

"Ah it would be amazing..a dream come true. Group one, Royal Ascot, you can't ask for any better."

Regardless of his Ascot result, all eyes - and bets - on Stone of Folca will soon turn to Glorious Goodwood in August, where the track is better suited to the horse's talents.