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Nazeef poised to take on stablemate Palace Pier in QEII

Nazeef will fly the flag for the fillies when she takes on the colts, headed by her unbeaten John Gosden-trained stablemate Palace Pier, in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.

The four-year-old has progressed through the ranks, climbing from a maiden success all the way up to two Group One victories this season.

Those came against her own sex in the Falmouth Stakes and the Sun Chariot, so the British Champions Mile, sponsored by Qipco, will be her toughest task – but it is one connections feel she deserves to take.

“She’s done us proud all year,” said Angus Gold, racing manager to owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum.

“Obviously, she had a couple of setbacks in terms of Goodwood, where they felt she didn’t come down the hill, and it was horrible ground in Deauville, but she bounced back to form the other day.

Nazeef has more than paid her way this season
Nazeef has more than paid her way this season (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“She is very tough, and has a great attitude. John says all she does is eat and sleep, that she doesn’t over-exert herself at home and so doesn’t take a lot out of herself – hopefully she’s still in good form.

“At his time of year you never know, but they are happy with her. She handles easy ground. If it got really bad, I don’t know what would happen.”

Sheikh Hamdan’s other likely runner, Molatham, has something to find on ratings, though he does have smart form.

Trained by Roger Varian, the three-year-old colt won the Group Three Jersey Stakes over seven furlongs at Royal Ascot and was third behind Wichita in the Group Two Park Stakes at Doncaster last month.

“He’s a nice horse,” said Gold.

“He’s going to have to step up a couple of gears to get involved in something like this, but he won the Jersey well on the same track.”

Kameko to miss Champions Day and head straight to Breeders’ Cup

Kameko will bypass Qipco British Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday and head straight to next month’s Breeders’ Cup meeting.

The 2000 Guineas winner bounced back to winning ways with victory in the Joel Stakes at Newmarket late last month, following a luckless run that had seen him finish fourth in the Derby, Sussex Stakes and Juddmonte International.

Trainer Andrew Balding and owners Qatar Racing had been considering an outing in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, but the likelihood of very soft ground means the Kitten’s Joy colt will instead plot a direct route to the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Keeneland on November 7.

David Redvers, racing manager for Sheikh Fahad’s operation, said: “Given the ground at Ascot is going to be testing, Kameko will go straight to the Breeders’ Cup and will not run on Saturday.”

Kameko had been as short as 4-1 with some bookmakers for the Ascot Group One, with the John Gosden-trained Palace Pier an odds-on favourite.

Vaughan has high hopes Dame Malliot can record fairytale win

Ed Vaughan believes Dame Malliot has a good chance of giving them both the perfect swansong in the Qipco Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.

The four-year-old filly, owned by Anthony Oppenheimer, is likely to be retired after the Group One feature, while Vaughan announced in July he is relinquishing his licence after 16 years.

Dame Malliot – who is set to be ridden by Hollie Doyle – has given Vaughan a pair of Group Two victories and has finished third at the top level twice this term.

Her latest run, when third in the Prix Vermeille after setting the pace, has worked out well – with the winner, Tarnawa, and the placed horses, Raabihah and Wonderful Tonight, boosting the form on Arc weekend.

Dame Malliot comes home in front at Newmarket for a famous win under Hollie Doyle
Dame Malliot comes home in front at Newmarket for a famous win under Hollie Doyle (Steve Davies/PA)
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“We were pleased to see the Vermeille form working out extremely well,” said Vaughan.

“David Menuisier’s filly (Wonderful Tonight) won the Prix Royallieu, which we were going to run in but we just decided we’d give her a little more time and wait for this one.

“I was pleased with her run in the Vermeille. She only got chinned on the line for second place, beaten a head by Raabihah who ran a great race in the Arc.

“I suppose when you’re making the running you’re always there to be shot at and it’s hard to make all, but she lost nothing in defeat.

“Hollie will ride her at the weekend, all being well.”

Vaughan reflected on Dame Malliot’s career, during which she has only run eight times but has been successful on four occasions.

“She’s been a wonderful servant. She started off at Wolverhampton in a median auction maiden and is running in a Group One in what looks like her last start,” the Newmarket handler told Sky Sports Racing.

“It’s been wonderful to be associated with a nice filly like her.

“As for her future, I don’t know. It’s up to the owner. I think it’s more likely she’ll be retired, I imagine.

“She’s done incredibly well. I’m sure the owner will want to start breeding from her next season.

“I’ve nothing nailed down yet. It doesn’t look I’ll be staying in England. I’ve a few things in the pipeline. I’ll take a bit of time off at the end of the month and go from there.”

Oxted set to take Champions Sprint test at Ascot

Oxted is set to take his chance in the Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.

Connections have decided to bite the bullet and see if the July Cup winner can cope with the likely testing conditions.

While trainer Roger Teal is hoping the ground dries out from Wednesday morning’s official description of soft, heavy in places, he feels they should take the plunge.

Oxted (left) has not run since his Group One win in July
Oxted (left) has not run since his Group One win in July (Edward Whitaker/PA)

Oxted showed his well-being in his final piece of work to rubber-stamp his place in the six-furlong Group One and run for the first time since he won the July Cup at Newmarket.

“He did his final blow on Tuesday on the grass and went really nicely, so we’re happy with him going into Saturday. It’s all systems go,” said the Lambourn handler.

“The plan is to run. We’re going to take our chance. Obviously, we’ve got to find out if he’ll go on the softer conditions. We confirmed to run, so we might as well take our chance now.”

He went on: “The sun’s shining this morning. Hopefully it will stay that way for the next three days and tighten the ground up a bit and then the tighter the ground gets, the better the chance we have.”

“You’ve got to find these things out. There’s no point in keep ducking the issue. He’s bred to go on it. His mum went on it and his dad went on it, so on his pedigree he’s got a good chance of handling it now he’s stronger.

“You can’t guarantee it, but I think we’re in better shape now to find out one way or the other.”

Magical headlining powerful Champions Day team for O’Brien

Last year’s winner Magical could be joined by stable companions Japan and Serpentine as Aidan O’Brien considers a three-pronged assault on the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot.

The Ballydoyle trainer has saddled eight previous winners on Qipco British Champions Day, and looks set to send another formidable squad across the Irish Sea this weekend, for what will be the 10th anniversary of the showpiece meeting.

While Magical has long been pencilled in for a return to Ascot, several big names who might not have been bound for Berkshire are now in the mix due to the well-documented problem surrounding contaminated feed which prompted O’Brien to withdraw all his runners on Arc day in Paris.

O’Brien admits a late change of big-race target is not ideal, but ParisLongchamp’s loss looks set to be Ascot’s gain.

Aidan O'Brien will be well represented at Ascot
Aidan O’Brien will be well represented at Ascot (Mike Egerton/PA)

“We had to think hard about what we did with the horses that were due to go to France as for a long time their preparation had been geared around Arc weekend and when you carry on for another two weeks it’s not always ideal,” said O’Brien.

“It can be tricky to keep the momentum going. We were looking forward to Arc weekend and the horses were training really well for it for a long time, but that’s the way it was and the way it was meant to be and we just accepted it and moved on.

“Next year will be another year. We changed the route with them and we’ll see what will happen, but they seem to be in good form.”

Japan and Derby winner Serpentine were both considered leading contenders for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe itself, but are now possibles to line up alongside Magical, with alternative options running out.

However, O’Brien’s other Champion Stakes entrant, Mogul, is set to miss out.

Japan (near side) could take on stablemate Magical
Japan (near side) could take on stablemate Magical (Nigel French/PA)
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O’Brien said: “Japan is a strong possible and this has been the target for Magical since Leopardstown. Mogul is not a definite because he could go straight to the Breeders’ Cup Turf.

“The lads have to decide what they want to do with Serpentine. We were really looking forward to the Arc with him and his prep for that was very good – we felt he had moved up plenty from his prep run and done very well physically.

“He has to run somewhere shortly, either that or we have to back off him altogether. The options for him after Saturday are the Breeders’ Cup, the Japan Cup and the races in Hong Kong.

“We’re very happy with him at home at the moment and if he runs on Saturday it will be interesting.”

Magical looked set for retirement after striking gold 12 months ago, but a change of heart to keep her in training as a five-year-old has reaped rich rewards.

Following successive Group One triumphs at the Curragh, the ultra-consistent Galileo mare chased home Ghaiyyath in the Juddmonte International at York before successfully defending her crown in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown.

Her top-level tally stands at seven – and she may well have been into double figures already had she not bumped into the recently-retired Enable on several occasions.

“Enable has been a great filly and obviously herself and Magical know each other well – they’ve had some great races together,” said O’Brien.

Aidan O'Brien with Magical
Aidan O’Brien with Magical (Healy Racing/PA)

“Enable is a year older than Magical and we were delighted that the lads decided to keep Magical in training this year.

“She’s in good form and loved this race last year, so we’re looking forward to running her.”

Asked about plans beyond Saturday for Magical, O’Brien added: “I wouldn’t be sure about next year, because we were delighted to have her this year.

“It will be whatever the lads decide, but I imagine if everything was well with her she could go to the Breeders’ Cup.”

The main supporting race is the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, in which O’Brien’s chief contender will be the admirable Circus Maximus.

The tough-as-teak six-year-old has significant ground to make up on John Gosden’s hot favourite Palace Pier on their meeting at Deauville this summer, but O’Brien hopes a return to Ascot – where he has won twice before – will help Circus Maximus close the gap.

O’Brien said: “We’ve always been delighted with Circus Maximus. He’s very tough and very consistent and seems to dance every dance.

“He’s a very competitive horse who loves it when horses challenge him – he’s tough and hardened and loves to get into a battle.”

Sovereign is set for a step up in trip
Sovereign is set for a step up in trip (PA)

The trainer confirmed Royal Dornoch as a “strong possible” to join Circus Maximus, while a decision on whether Lancaster House will also line up will be made later in the week.

O’Brien declared his intentions to saddle Arc contender Sovereign, Broome and Dawn Patrol in the British Champions Long Distance Cup, while Lope Y Fernandez is a likely contender for the British Champions Sprint, having missed the Prix de la Foret on Arc Weekend.

While keen to stress all plans are subject to change, O’Brien is favouring running Passion over Laburnum in the British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes.

He is also set to be represented in the concluding Balmoral Handicap by recent Listed winner Keats.

Marquand and Addeybb primed for Champion Stakes glory

Tom Marquand has already enjoyed plenty of memorable moments in the saddle this year and Addeybb will bid to give him another on Saturday in the Qipco Champion Stakes.

For some 2020 cannot end soon enough – but for Marquand, who this season has landed a first Classic victory aboard Galileo Chrome in the St Leger and a breakthrough Royal Ascot success, it could be about to become even better.

Having steered the William Haggas-trained Pivotal gelding to a brace of Group One victories in Australia earlier this year, the 22-year-old will attempt to guide the six-year-old to further top-level glory in the mile-and-a-quarter prize at Ascot.

Though Addeybb, who finished second in the race 12 months ago, is yet to score in his four previous outings in Group One company in Britain, Marquand believes he has every chance of changing that statistic at the weekend.

Addeybb (yellow colours) chased Magical home 12 months ago
Addeybb (yellow colours) chased Magical home 12 months ago (Simon Cooper/PA)

Marquand said: “He is a dual Group One winner, but British racing probably thinks he is a horse that can’t win a Group One over here which is a shame.

“He bumped into Magical at Ascot in the race last year and if you can run three-quarters (of a length) second to something like that, you are a solid Group One horse.

“Hopefully this is his go at giving it a proper shot. What will be will be, but hopefully he can put his best foot forward and run his heart out.

“It is going to be an ultra-competitive race, as it should be, but what a great ride to have in the race.”

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While Addeybb appeared to make hard work of landing a Listed contest at Ayr last time out, Marquand is far from concerned about the performance.

He said: “He was giving weight away to horses like Lord Glitters, and he is no mug – he has won a Group One. It’s a hard thing.

“I was speaking to Harry Eustace, who looked after him in Australia, on the morning of the race and I said I would probably still have to give him a couple of flicks and that he wouldn’t go through with it on the bridle and win, because that is just not him.

“Lo and behold he came off the bridle at the three pole and looked in trouble, but I gave him a couple of flicks and he just stuck his head down and went through with it.”

Tom Marquand is confident William Haggas will have Addeybb in perfect order for his latest Group One assignment (Nigel French/PA)
Tom Marquand is confident William Haggas will have Addeybb in perfect order for his latest Group One assignment (Nigel French/PA)

With that outing expected to have put Addeybb spot on for his Group One return, and conditions in his favour, Marquand has every right to be hopeful.

He said: “You would like to think he is spot on and William has had a few years of practice with him in getting him ready for certain days and he has pretty much nailed that.

“Hopefully we get a sensible draw and the ground we want, then after that it is on him. I think he is a horse that deserves to win a Group One in Britain.”

Starman will be pitched into Group One company for the first time at Ascot on Saturday (Mark Cranham/PA)
Starman will be pitched into Group One company for the first time at Ascot on Saturday (Mark Cranham/PA)

Marquand will look to strengthen his partnership with Ed Walker-trained Starman when he puts his unbeaten record on the line in the Qipco British Champions Sprint.

He said: “He has had a flawless career so far, he is three from three and very exciting.

“I think he has surprised a lot of people. He only just scraped home at Lingfield, but I got off him and I was convinced he was nice and only going through the motions.

“He wouldn’t want the ground too soft, but he will go there regardless. He is on an upward curve and it is certainly worth a try to see if he can continue it.”

With Starman having successfully taken the step up to Listed company in his stride last time out at York, Marquand believes it was an effort that can be upgraded given things conspired against him

He added: “His last run was particularly impressive. He put it to them in a very competitive Listed race at York, beating Dakota Gold who is a fair yardstick.

“Everything went wrong for us there, but he still managed to come out on top being relatively inexperienced.

“Hopefully he is the sort of horse that can step up and be on the sprinting scene for the next couple of years.”

Victory for Starman would be particularly sweet for Marquand, with it coming less than four months after losing the ride aboard his stablemate English King in the Derby.

He said: “It is nice for Ed, as he had all the excitement with English King earlier in the year and that never really materialised and it is great he has such another exciting horse come along so quickly to back up in the same year.

“It was never an issue losing the ride on English King, I get on great with Ed and we’ve had plenty of winners in between and hopefully I will have a few more.”

Wonderful Tonight in line for Champions Day appearance

David Menuisier is leaning towards running Wonderful Tonight in the Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.

With ground conditions set to suit the daughter of Le Havre at the Berkshire track, the Pulborough handler rates her a “60-40” chance of contesting the mile-and-a-half Group One.

Having finished fifth on her Group One debut in the Prix Vermeille at ParisLongchamp, the Christopher Wright-owned mare opened her account at the top level back at the Parisian track in the Prix de Royallieu.

Menuisier said: “She seems like she has come out of the Royallieu well. She is buzzing and feeling great, jumping around and kicking around.

“At the moment I’m 60-40 to give it a go. The ground is soft with the chance of a little more rain, then it is going to be dry for most of the week but I don’t think it will dry that much.

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“She seems like she will have all her conditions, but we will make the decision when we have to on Thursday. If I’m 60-40 now and all goes well over the next couple of days then we will run her.”

Looking beyond the end of this season Menuisier could give Wonderful Tonight a campaign geared around next year’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, after receiving the news she will stay in training in 2021.

He added: “She will stay in training next year and the aim could be the Arc. I think she could have been competitive in it this year in hindsight, but there is no point thinking about it now.

“The main thing this year was to try to get a Group One under her belt and the next year we can do what we like. She has definitely picked up the position of flagbearer for next season.”

Meanwhile, Menuisier is considering Group One options at Saint-Cloud later this month for Salisbury scorer Belloccio.

He said: “He will have an entry in both the Criterium International and the Criterium de Saint-Cloud. If is all well between now and then we will give it some thought, but if I have any doubts I will just put him away.

“Historically the mile-and-a-quarter race has been the weaker of the two and it has lacked a bit of depth and last year there were only two runners in it.

“I think he will stay well, he could have easily gone a couple of extra furlongs at Salisbury and he seems to handle soft ground.”

A trip to Newbury for the Group Three Cancom Stakes, better known as the Horris Hill, is on the cards for Autumn Twilight ahead of going under the hammer at the Autumn Horses In Training Sale at Tattersalls.

Menuisier said: “I think the plan for Autumn Twilight is the Horris Hill. I think it is a good spot. He is very genuine and professional and he goes on soft ground.

“He is entered in the sales after the Horris Hill and that could give us an idea of where we are.”

Onassis added to Sprint field as connections target Group One farewell

Onassis and Jouska have been supplemented for Saturday’s Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes at Ascot.

Both fillies won at the weekend, with Henry Candy’s Jouska successful in Saturday’s Boadicea Stakes at Newmarket, while the Charlie Fellowes-trained Onassis landed Sunday’s October Fillies’ Stakes at Goodwood.

Hayley Turner, who has also won the Sandringham at Royal Ascot and a Listed race in France on Onassis this season, had feared that would be her last outing aboard the filly, but she will have another start before likely bowing out.

Fellowes said: “It’s a brave call, but she’s going to be retired and it will probably be her last ever run.

“I think she has loads of ticks in her favour – she’ll love the ground, she loves Ascot and if she can finish in the first four, it would do her pedigree an enormous amount.

“Her owners are very excited about having a crack at it, it will be her swansong and Hayley can ride. There are few options elsewhere, so we thought given she’d won £21,000 the other day, let’s have a crack.

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“She’s got a phenomenal pedigree and is already worth a lot of money, but if she gets placed, she will take it to another level.”

The two supplementary entries mean there are 19 possibles in the Sprint, including Dream Of Dreams and Glen Shiel, the first two home in the Sprint Cup at Haydock.

The latter will be ridden by Hollie Doyle, who is seeking a first Group One win in what has already been a stellar year.

His trainer Archie Watson said: “I’ve been delighted with Glen Shiel since Haydock. His work into Ascot has been very good and I hope he can run another huge race.”

Dream Of Dreams (white face) just holds on from Glen Shiel (left) at Haydock
Dream Of Dreams (white face) just holds on from Glen Shiel (left) at Haydock (David Davies/PA)

He is owned by Hambleton Racing and their racing manager Simon Turner said: “Glen Shiel’s excellent run at Haydock didn’t surprise us at all and fully justified the decision to pitch him in against the best.

“His owners lived every moment of that run and are counting down the days to Saturday.”

Silvestre de Sousa is jocked up on Andrew Balding’s Happy Power meaning the ride on Tim Easterby’s Art Power, in the same ownership, could be available if both run.

One Master, Oxted, Sonaiyla and the unbeaten Starman are others of note.

Stradivarius could tackle the Long Distance Cup
Stradivarius could tackle the Long Distance Cup (Dan Abraham/PA)

Stradivarius is among 15 in the Long Distance Cup after his effort in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

Aidan O’Brien has left in Broome, Dawn Patrol and Sovereign, while Dermot Weld’s dual Irish St Leger winner Search For A Song would be a new rival for Stradivarius.

Magical has been left in the Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes, but she also has the option of the Champion Stakes which she won last year.

There are 13 others in the Fillies & Mares including Laburnum and Passion, stablemates of Magical.

Even So won the Irish Oaks for Ger Lyons
Even So won the Irish Oaks for Ger Lyons (PA)

Ger Lyons’ Irish Oaks winner Even So, the Ralph Beckett pair of Antonia De Vega and Manuela De Vega and Ed Vaughan’s Dame Malliot are in the mix.

William Haggas’ Montatham heads the weights for the Balmoral Handicap.

Last year’s winner Escobar is also among the 43 left in.

Soft ground in store for Ascot – but hurdles track not expected to be needed

Ascot’s clerk of the course Chris Stickels expects soft ground for Qipco British Champions Day on Saturday.

The last meeting at the track just over a week ago had to be called off due to waterlogging – but Stickels does not anticipate the meeting taking place on the inner (hurdles) track, which was needed for the races on the round course last year.

While rain is forecast for Monday evening into Tuesday, not much else of significance is expected before the meeting gets under way.

“Currently we’re soft, it’s been drying out since Saturday and we’ve only had a little bit of rain in the last week,” said Stickels.

“But what we have had is 112 millimetres in October already. We had a huge amount of rain the weekend before last which forced us to abandon the Saturday of the two-day meeting.

“We’re anticipating rain and showers through Monday into Tuesday with six to eight millimetres forecast.

“After that is is meant to remain generally dry, there may be the odd shower about but nothing serious.

“We might go back to heavy in places after this rain today and tonight and after that I anticipate soft ground for Champions Day.

“We have the option of using the inside track should the outer track be unraceable, but I don’t think it’s going to get to that if this forecast is accurate.”

Unbeaten Palace Pier on track for QEII mission

Palace Pier remains on course to defend his unbeaten record at Ascot on Saturday after featuring among 18 remaining contenders for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.

Trained by John Gosden, Palace Pier is a hot favourite to extend his winning run to six under Frankie Dettori, having landed the St James’s Palace Stakes at the Royal meeting and the Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville.

Gosden also has high-class fillies Nazeef and Terebellum in the mix for the Qipco-sponsored showpiece following the confirmation stage.

The Andrew Balding-trained Kameko claimed Classic glory in the 2000 Guineas in the spring, and after finishing fourth in the Derby, the Sussex Stakes and the Juddmonte International, he made a successful return to a mile in in last month’s Joel Stakes.

Aidan O’Brien has a trio of hopefuls in Circus Maximus, Lancaster House and Royal Dornoch, while Benbatl is in contention for Saeed bin Suroor, although, as with Kameko, the prospect of testing conditions will be a concern.

Francis-Henri Graffard’s mud-lover The Revenant was runner-up to King Of Change in last year’s renewal and will return in a bid to go one better following a recent successful return to action at ParisLongchamp.

The Revenant (red) chases home King Of Change in last year's Champion Stakes
The Revenant (red) chases home King Of Change in last year’s Champion Stakes (Simon Cooper/PA)

Graffard said: “Everything is fine. The horse needed the run the other day, he has improved a lot and he should be spot on for Saturday.

“I don’t think the ground will be as soft as last year, but it should be fine for him.

“Hopefully he is ready to do his best and I hope he can finish in the first three, like last year.”

Simon and Ed Crisford’s Century Dream and David O’Meara’s pair of Escobar and Lord Glitters also feature.

Magical and Mishriff head 16 contenders in Champion Stakes mix

Magical and Mishriff are two of 16 horses confirmed for the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.

The brilliant mare Magical provided Aidan O’Brien with his first first victory in the 10-furlong showpiece 12 months ago, and will return to Berkshire after successfully defending her crown in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown.

O’Brien could also call upon Japan, Sovereign, Mogul and Derby winner Serpentine. Magical retains an entry in the Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes on the same card.

The John Gosden-trained Mishriff has emerged as a top-class colt this summer, claiming Classic glory in the Prix du Jockey at Chantilly before returning to France to win the Group Two Prix Guillaume d’Ornano in August.

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Gosden could also saddle Lord North, who was a runaway winner of the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot and was last seen finishing third behind Ghaiyyath and Magical in the Juddmonte International at York.

The William Haggas-trained Addeybb was runner-up to Magical in last year’s renewal and will return in a bid to go one better.

Other contenders include William Muir’s St Leger third Pyledriver, possible French challenger Skalleti and Saeed bin Suroor’s Benbatl, who is also entered in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.

Muir is looking forward to seeing Pyledriver drop back in distance on Qipco British Champions Day as he seeks a first Group One win after 29 years with a licence.

Muir said: “He’s getting stronger and is starting to retain his weight easier. His work has been good, the same as ever, and I’m very confident I’ve still got him at his best.

“I think if it hadn’t been for this type of year, we would probably not run him over a mile and a six (furlongs) in the St Leger. You can’t be dogmatic and say he didn’t stay because he ground it out, but that was his class.

Pyledriver has enjoyed a fine season
Pyledriver has enjoyed a fine season (David Davies/PA)

“He wasn’t as effective because we took his gears and speed away from him. Martin (Dwyer) was sitting, waiting and having to hold him on to him when he wanted to kick.

“I’m not worried about the ground and the trip won’t be a problem. Straight after he won the Voltigeur (at York), the jockey went on TV and said he had the pace to win a Group One over a mile and a quarter.”

The trainer is already excited to see what his stable star can achieve next season, adding: “We’ve got loads to look forward to with this horse and, no matter what else, the boys (owners) have had a fantastic time.

“We’ve enjoyed every minute of it and we’ve got next year and the year after with him, when we will be looking at the big races all around the world.”

Palace Pier goes through his paces at Newmarket

Palace Pier stepped up his preparations for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot with a gallop before racing at Newmarket on Saturday.

The John Gosden-trained Kingman colt will put his unbeaten record on the line in the mile prize next weekend, when bidding for a third straight Group One success.

Working over six and a half furlongs under Frankie Dettori, the St James’s Palace Stakes and Prix Jacques le Marois hero moved past his lead horse entering the closing stages of the exercise, before finishing about four lengths clear.

Dettori said: “It was routine work over six and a half furlongs.

“It was just good to get him on the grass and I had not ridden him since Deauville.

“He seems in good form and we were not doing anything too crazy as we are only a week away from Ascot.”

Love not certain to head to Breeders’ Cup

Aidan O’Brien has suggested his dual Classic winner Love may skip the Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland next month.

The filly has been imperious throughout her three-year-old campaign, having been busy in her juvenile season with seven runs.

She began by winning the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket and was even more impressive at Epsom in the Oaks, beating stablemate Ennistymon by nine lengths.

Given a mid-season break, the daughter of Galileo then won the Yorkshire Oaks at York, a run that was meant to put her spot on for a crack at the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, only for very heavy ground in Paris to scupper that plan at the 11th hour.

As fate would have it, she would have been a non runner in any case due to the well-documented problem with contaminated feed which led to the Ballydoyle handler withdrawing his runners from last Sunday’s card at ParisLongchamp.

The Arc was won by Sottsass with In Swoop a close second, the latter having been behind O’Brien’s Mogul in the Grand Prix de Paris.

When asked if Mogul would head to the Breeders’ Cup with Love, O’Brien replied: “Mogul is a possible for Champions Day at Ascot or the Breeders’ Cup.

“Love might be finished for this season with next year in mind.”

Dame Malliot on target for Champions Day

Ed Vaughan is looking to end his career on a high with Dame Malliot in the Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes at Ascot on Saturday week.

The Newmarket-based handler announced in July he was going to hand in his licence and his star filly could give him the perfect send-off with victory in the mile-and-a-half Group One on Qipco British Champions Day.

Dame Malliot was third in the Prix Vermeille on her latest start – form which got a huge boost at ParisLongchamp at the weekend.

Ed Vaughan is looking to bow out on a high at Ascot
Ed Vaughan is looking to bow out on a high at Ascot (Edward Whitaker/PA)
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Vermeille winner Tarnawa won the Prix de l’Opera, while runner-up Raabihah was fourth in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and also-rans Wonderful Tonight and Valia lifted the Prix Royallieu and Prix Chaudenay respectively.

“It’s worked out well, hasn’t it, and you know we were unlucky to be caught on the line for second by Raabihah, and look how well she ran in the Arc,” said Vaughan.

“Wouldn’t it be a fairytale end for me if Dame Malliot went and won at Ascot, but you know it will be a tough race for her.

“It would be a lovely way to go out, but opportunities in these races are few and far between for a trainer like me and at the bread and butter level, at which I’m mostly dealing, the costs are getting higher and higher.”

Dame Malliot gave Vaughan a career-first Group Two win at Deauville in August 2019, and scored at a similar level in the soft against colts in the Princess of Wales’s Stakes at Newmarket in July, when she was a landmark first Group winner for Hollie Doyle.

“She’s not had a hard season though, with only three runs so far, and after trips to Germany and France since her Newmarket win it’s nice that she won’t have to travel this time,” he said.

Frankie Dettori partnered Dame Malliot for owner Anthony Oppenheimer last time but it has yet to be decided if the Italian or Doyle takes the ride at Ascot.

Vaughan said: “We haven’t discussed it yet and I expect John Gosden will have a runner, but if Frankie doesn’t ride I expect Hollie will.”

Hogan disappointed with Challenge’s Abbaye run

Denis Hogan will monitor Make A Challenge over the next week before deciding whether to commit the smart sprinter to one of two possible objectives.

The County Tipperary trainer was disappointed with the Invincible Spirit gelding’s run in the Prix de l’Abbaye at ParisLongchamp where he finished eighth of 11 behind Wooded.

He will only consider running him in the Qipco British Champions Sprint at Ascot on Saturday week, or the Listed Waterford Testimonial Stakes at the Curragh two days earlier, if the horse gives him the right signals.

“He was a bit disappointing, I suppose. The travel seemed to take a bit out of him on the day,” said Hogan.

“He was very quiet in the preliminaries and I thought he ran a bit flat in the race even though I thought he travelled well to halfway, but he just didn’t pick up.

“It was definitely an off-day. Hopefully we can draw a line through it. I just think the travel took the edge off him.

“He’s still in on Champions Day at Ascot. That’s a possibility but he’s had a busy-enough season. We’ll see how he is. Only if he is fresh and well will he go to Ascot.

“It’s a short turnaround – only two weeks. He needs to recover well this week and we’ll monitor him.

“The other option at home is the Listed race he won last year at the Curragh – the Waterford Testimonial. It will all depend on how he is next week.”