MARCO BOTTI is in confident mood ahead of Tac De Boistron’s Ascot Gold Cup bid knowing that the grey can handle quicker ground.

Many people had the seven-year-old pegged as a mudlark following his wins in the Prix Royal Oak and the Sagaro Stakes.

However, dropping down in trip and racing on good ground in the Yorkshire Cup, he only just failed to catch Gospel Choir and will be a major contender in a Gold Cup that could feature last year’s winner Estimate, along with the likes of Brown Panther and 2013 St Leger hero Leading Light.

“I thought he ran well in the Yorkshire Cup. The ground dried out that day and we dropped down to a mile and six, carrying a penalty, but I thought it was a good run,” Botti told At The Races.

“He’s in tremendous form. He’s been well since and I’m looking forward to Ascot with him when we’ll pray for rain.

“It was a huge effort as there wasn’t much pace and it turned into a dash. He had to edge out to find a little bit of daylight and he stayed on.

“I think the winner had more toe than us and kicked at the right time but dropping back to that trip on faster ground than he likes it was definitely a good run.

“We’re really looking forward to it. It was probably a good thing he ran on faster ground than he likes as we’ve learned he can handle it.”

Simenon remains bound for this month’s Gold Cup despite owner Nick Peacock admitting the globetrotter needs to raise his game.

At Royal Ascot last year, Simenon finished just a quarter of a length behind Estimate in the great staying event and went on to post excellent efforts in the Lonsdale, Caulfield and Melbourne Cups as well as the Hong Kong Vase.