Brendan Walsh is relying on his American raider Extravagant Kid to atone for Benbaun’s narrow defeat by Takeover Target in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Walsh worked for Newmarket trainer Mark Wallace when Benbaun was beaten a short head by the Australian challenger back in 2006.
Takeover Target was seven when he landed the Group One dash over five furlongs – and although Extravagant Kid is a year older, he is in the form of his life and won the Al Quoz Sprint at Meydan on his most recent start in March.
“Being an Irishman, I grew up and worked in Europe for many years – I worked for Godolphin for many years,” Walsh told a virtual press conference hosted by Great British Racing International.
“When I worked for Mark Wallace at Newmarket we had a horse called Benbaun, who was just touched off in the King’s Stand Stakes by Takeover Target.
“I’ve been around Royal Ascot all my life. You come over here and don’t expect it. We’ve watched (fellow US trainer) Wesley (Ward) over the last few years – but for me it was the last thing I would have expected to have a runner at Royal Ascot.
“It’s very special, knowing how big it is at home.
“It is nice to be able to run over there and compete with the very best of European trainers and jockeys.”
Walsh, who bought Extravagant Kid out of a claimer, has 65 to 70 horses in training in Kentucky.
“I think the travel and a different track, when you get to an age like him – an eight-year-old – you are trying to find something a little different,” he said.
“They have pretty much seen it all before, and this for him suits his character and it’s really picked him up – maybe that’s what most of his improvement is accredited to.
“My assistant Charlie Lynch is with him. He says he hasn’t missed a beat since he got there, pretty much like was doing in Dubai. You can’t beat that. We’ve prepared him for it, and it looks like it’s all going to plan.
“The Dubai thing was in my mind for a couple of years. I travelled a lot of horses with Godolphin back in the day and I thought this was the right year to go with Extravagant Kid.
“He thrived in Dubai when he got there, and he seems to be thriving in Newmarket since he got there.
“I’ve got no real hang-ups about it. I think it’s as we would want it, and if we get a good trip we will see if he’s good enough or not.
“I’m gutted I’m not going to be there. The way things are at the moment, it makes it very tough for us to travel. All the same it is still very exciting.”