Shouldvebeenaring’s owners were delighted after they saw their late entry for the Prix de la Foret pay off with a gallant run at ParisLongchamp, but they could now face a similar conundrum with regards to Qipco British Champions Day.
The Richard Hannon-trained grey was supplemented for the French Group One after the ground, which is usually soft in Paris in autumn, turned out to be rather quicker than expected.
Ridden by Sean Levey, the colt held his own at the level once again, finishing third behind Kelina and Kinross in a field of 14 to justify the decision to add him to the line-up.
“Vindicated and relief are the two words that spring to mind! Spending €25,000 to go in comes with a little bit of pressure, so to see him run so well, we were absolutely thrilled,” said Tim Palin of owners Middleham Park Racing.
“Every day as the week went on it was drying up and then they were breaking track records, we knew it would play into his hands because he is best on the top of the ground.
“It was a great ride from Sean and there was a thrilling moment there when you thought he was coming to win, but of course the two class acts were just a length or two in front of him.
“For all that we got there, we couldn’t quite go past but to even finish in the same postcode as Kinross is a real feather in our horse’s cap, a real testament to his tenacity and his durability.
“He’s danced pretty much every dance this year, there’s only one month that he’s not run in this year.
“I think one of the beauties of him is the way that he switches off in his races and the way that Sean rides, it just means that he only ever has to sprint for two furlongs in his races. He’s not a make-all, eyeballs-out horse who is on the speed and in the thick of it from start to finish.”
The gamble also paid off financially as his prize-money well exceeded his supplementary fee, and similar calculations could now justify another late entry – this time for the British Champions Sprint Stakes at Ascot.
Again the ground will prove pivotal with quick going preferred, meaning connections will keep a keen eye on the weather forecast as they weigh-up the Ascot race with the Challenge Stakes at Newmarket just over a week beforehand.
Palin said: “There’s a couple of options – he is in the Challenge Stakes, a week on Friday, the Group Two, that’s seven furlongs at Newmarket and he’d probably go there with a favourite’s chance. We’ll have to talk to Richard and Sean and give him a breeze next week to see if he’s over his exertions.
“That would be on the agenda, but that’s only about eight days before the Champions Sprint at Ascot. We’d need to look at the weather forecast to see whether we’d dare wait another week for the rain not to arrive or the heavens not to open.
“He’s not in there, realistically because at the time of entry you’re assuming it’s going to be soft or heavy ground. A bit like the Foret, he was never in that, we took the decision to wait and supplement and of course it paid off.
“Being second at Haydock in the Sprint Cup meant that he earned £91,000, so that gave us a little bit of financial wiggle room to be able to play the supplementary game. It cost €25,000 to go in the other day and he earned €40,000, so there’s plenty of money in the kitty if we need to supplement for that.
“The weather gods might shine on us, literally, in that week coming up to it but we’ll have to make a decision before we truly know – declarations for the Challenge Stakes will be on the Wednesday and it’s another 10 days to the Champions Sprint.
“It’s going to be a precarious weather watch to see which way we go.”