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Moore booking significant for Johnston’s Es Que Love

Mark Johnston’s Es Que Love has been in the form of his life in recent weeks but has suffered agonising defeat in two valuable handicaps. He must shoulder top weight in the opening race at Newmarket on Saturday but Ryan Moore has been snapped up to do the steering.

The four-year-old showed signs of a return to form when fifth in the seven furlong Buckingham Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot. He followed that up by attempting to make all of the running in the Coral Challenge, only being collared in the final 50 yards by Prince Of Johanne.

He was dropped back to seven furlongs for last week’s Bunbury Cup at Newmarket and looked to have it in the bag until finally worn down by Field Of Dream. The handicapper has raised Es Que Love 4lbs to a mark of 105, just 2lbs lower than his career-best figure.

Johnston is also represented by the bottom weight Shebebi, winner of the valuable Silver Bowl at Haydock in May. He weakened out of contention in the Britannia Stakes at Ascot but ran a fine race when third to Ashaadd at Haydock last time out.

Saeed bin Suroor is also doubly represented with Kinglet and Snowboarder. They are both difficult to assess on their return from Dubai.

Snowboarder was fourth on his most recent start in the UAE Derby over a mile and a quarter whilst Kinglet won the UAE 2000 Guineas back in February. The market might be the best guide to their prospects here.

Sam Sharp won well at York last time over nine furlongs but may find this more difficult under a 7lbs rise in the handicap. Askaud also comes here in winning form having collected twice at Leicester over seven furlongs. He is up 6lbs from his last victory and has an extra furlong to travel.

Luca Cumani’s Kitten On The Run won four times in Italy last season but has struggled in his first two starts here. Kevin Ryan’s Trail Blaze completes the field and is not out of it after finishing a fair third to the impressive Diescentric at Newcastle last month.