It was a bittersweet weekend for James Ferguson, who had to pull his Mise En Scene out of the Qipco 1000 Guineas on the day of the race with a high temperature and then could only watch on as Cachet made all in the first fillies’ Classic of the season.
Ferguson’s charge was only a short head behind George Boughey’s runner when the pair finished third and fourth respectively in the Fillies’ Mile last season and it is that close proximity to the Classic winner that is giving the Saville House Stables handler cause for optimism that he has a very smart horse on his hands.
“It was gutting for the whole team, the whole yard and the Qatar team, but we’ve got to be grateful it is just a temperature and nothing else,” explained Ferguson.
“It was just a routine pre-race temperature check and there is no point turning up to a race as big as the Guineas if you are not 100 per cent, we’re just very grateful we know we have a very good filly in the yard.
“On form we would have run very well in the Guineas, to say we would have won is a massive ask, but we would have run well and therefore we know we have a nice filly moving forward.”
Mise En Scene holds an entry in the Irish 1,000 Guineas and Ferguson admits a trip to the Curragh is the logical starting point for the daughter of Siyouni’s season, providing she recovers in time to hit the track in peak condition.
He continued: “We’ll see how she comes out, we’ve got three weeks and if we can get her back on track that would be the logical choice, but I’d need to confirm things with the Qatar team and Sheikh Fahad. We would go straight there, but she’s got a temperature at the moment and needs to get over that first.”
Exciting stablemate El Bodegon will to France on Sunday as he steps up his preparation for a possible tilt at the Cazoo Derby.
The Kodiac colt was seen twice in Britain last season and, having won a seven-furlong novice race at Sandown in July, was campaigned exclusively in France thereafter.
He won the last two of his three runs across the English Channel, scoring in Group Three company at Chantilly before giving Ferguson his first top-level winner, when under an inspired ride from Ioritz Mendizabal he signed off with victory in the Group One Criterium de Saint-Cloud in October.
All five of El Bodegon’s starts were in ground on the softer side of good and the Newmarket handler is keen to avoid quick ground if at all possible.
“All being well, he will go to France for the (Group Two) Prix Greffulhe,” said Ferguson. “He is still on course for the Derby.
“I would say he is fairly versatile in terms of ground conditions, but I wouldn’t want to run him on rattling ground.
“He has done so well on soft ground and he has done so well in France.
“He obviously won the big one at Saint-Cloud, so why not send him back to Saint-Cloud, where the prep – although its has some good, high-profile horses in there – is going to probably be slightly weaker than the Dante?”
Connections of the colt, who is owned by the Nas Syndicate and Anthony O’Callaghan, could still opt for the Qatar Prix du Jockey Club on Sunday, June 5, rather than the Epsom Classic a day earlier.
Ferguson added: “I think the decision will be made a week before.”