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Mishriff to take Saudi Cup challenge

Mishriff is being prepared for the $20million Saudi Cup in Riyadh next month.

The four-year-old has previous experience of the dirt course there, having finished second in the Saudi Derby last winter before going on to lift the French Derby at Chantilly in July after winning the Newmarket Stakes.

The John Gosden-trained colt completed a hat-trick in the Prix Guillaume D’Ornano at Deauville in August and was last seen in the Champion Stakes at Ascot on his only subsequent start.

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Ted Voute, racing manager to owner Prince Faisal, said: “John’s preparing him for the race. The Prince and him discussed it in late December and the Prince lives in Riyadh.

“It’s on a dirt track which he handled last year when he came second. We’re going back a furlong, but we hope it won’t inconvenience him.

“It’s something to look forward to. There’s not a lot for him at home until probably June. Last year he went out there and (then) won the French Derby which was the same sort of timing. It gives him a few months off after he comes back.”

Voute confirmed that David Egan will be in the saddle.

“He’s in Bahrain at the moment so he’s nice and close,” he added.

“We’ve contacted him already and he says he’ll be delighted to ride him. He’s retained by us, but for one reason or another he didn’t get back on him last year (after Newmarket).”

More than 100 horses from nine countries and a total of 17 Group One winners have been entered for the Saudi Cup.

Among other British entries are Roger Charlton’s Extra Elusive, Saeed bin Suroor’s Military March, the Charlie Hills-trained Tilsit and William Haggas’ Addeybb, winner of the Champion Stakes.

A particularly strong American challenge on a race won last year by Maximum Security includes the Bob Baffert-trained Charlatan and Kenny McPeek’s Preakness Stakes heroine Swiss Skydiver.

Japan’s recently crowned Dirt Horse of the Year, Chuwa Wizard, could also line up having gained an automatic spot when winning the Champions Cup at Chukyo last month.

Gosden bids fond farewell to magnificent Enable

John Gosden and his staff at Clarehaven waved goodbye to Enable for the final time on Thursday, as the great mare left for her new home at Banstead Manor Stud.

It had already been announced the dual Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner will be covered by Kingman, also owned by Khalid Abdullah’s Juddmonte Farms operation.

The daughter of Nathaniel was retired last week, with connections resisting the temptation for one last hurrah at Ascot or at the Breeders’ Cup after the brilliant mare was bogged down by heavy ground bidding for a third Arc win.

Enable won the King George at Ascot for the third time in July
Enable won the King George at Ascot for the third time in July (Bill Selwyn/PA)

“Enable goes to the stud today, she’s just had a wind down after the Arc and actually it’s very pleasurable as she’s leaving happy and sound, very full of herself and very contented,” Gosden told Nick Luck’s Daily Podcast.

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“It’s wonderful to have had all that racing at two, three, four, five and six and retire her sound. Mr (Frankie) Dettori was here, popped the silks on and sat on her, like the old pictures we have in the yard.

“The ones you really love are the ones that try, give everything and want to work with you. She was the most fantastic filly for her sheer appetite and joy for training.

“It’s like working with people, when you have someone with a positive mindset it makes it more pleasurable.”

He went on: “Of course, she had an international following so I will probably sleep a little better now she’s gone as the weight of responsibility will be lessened somewhat.

“In a sense there was a bit of relief when the decision was made to retire her. We all know what happened in France, that’s life, there had been talk of Ascot but looking at the ground I’m glad we ruled that one out.

“The other option was to go to Kentucky, she’s won a Breeders’ Cup but Churchill has a longer stretch than Keeneland which suits her style of running, so while she is in great nick, we decided we’re not going to go any more.”

Palace Pier lost his unbeaten record on Champions Day
Palace Pier lost his unbeaten record on Champions Day (Edward Whitaker/PA)

Gosden endured a rare blank on Qipco Champions Day, which in part he put down to the testing conditions, but four of his beaten stars will be back for more next year.

“Palace Pier pulled a shoe off leaving the stalls and was quite sore, he hasn’t been ridden since. He probably did very well to finish third, but he’ll be all right for next year,” said Gosden.

“Mishriff will come back as well, he found the ground too deep. Lord North will hopefully be back and the great Stradivarius will try to win a fourth Gold Cup.”

Gosden also mooted his possible Breeders’ Cup squad.

He said: “At the moment we’re considering Lord North for the Turf, he hated the ground at Ascot. We have Terebellum, who didn’t run at Ascot thank goodness, she could go for the Filly & Mare and we’re also looking at that for Mehdaayih, who actually ricked her back in the Prince of Wales’s so has only had one run since.”

Egan all set for Mishriff’s Champion Stakes bid

David Egan is looking forward to renewing his partnership with Mishriff in next month’s Qipco Champion Stakes – after missing the colt’s two big wins in France this year.

Egan, 21, had to sit out the French Derby because of travel restrictions brought on by Covid-19, and then picked up an untimely suspension before John Gosden’s colt followed up in the Prix Guillaume D’Ornano at Deauville.

The Champion Stakes is the highlight of what will be the 10th Qipco British Champions Day at Ascot, and Egan is just thrilled to be involved as he seeks a first Group One.

“I’m retained by Prince Faisal (owner), and so I want his horses to do as well as they can, whether I’m the one riding them or not,” he said, reflecting on Mishriff’s French adventures without him.

“I was over the moon watching Mishriff win the French Derby, thinking I’d be able to ride him next time, and then it was just unfortunate I couldn’t get back on him at Deauville. But I’ve had some good days on him, and hopefully there will be many more.”

Mishriff has been one of the emerging stars of this season
Mishriff has been one of the emerging stars of this season (Edward Whitaker/PA)

Egan was the third jockey to ride Mishriff in public, but the first to do so to victory.

He added: “I rode Mishriff for the first time when he won by 10 lengths at Nottingham last year, and then I was on him again when he was a good second in the Saudi Derby – when he made up a lot of ground in the straight after being a bit slow out of the gates.

“When we went to Newmarket in June most people seemed to be expecting his stable-mate Waldkonig to win, but Mishriff showed he was still improving by winning really well.

“He’s gone on improving since, and it’s been great to see. It’s a privilege to ride him.

“He’s so straightforward and he really tries for you. He’s got a very low head carriage and he just eats up the ground. He’s gone on good going, he’s gone on bottomless ground and he’s gone on dirt, so he’s very genuine and versatile.”

Mishriff team looking forward to Ascot date

Mishriff is reported to be in tip-top shape ahead of the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot next month.

Connections decided not to entertain thoughts of supplementing the French Derby hero for the Qatar Pix de l’Arc de Triomphe and stick to a mile and a quarter for the Group One on October 17.

Mishriff has thrived since making a triumphant return to France for the Group Two Prix Guillaume D’Ornano at Deauville and has won all his three starts this term.

“He’s bouncing, he’s going well and he’s waiting for his date at Ascot,” said Ted Voute, racing manager to owner Prince Faisal.

“John (Gosden) and the Prince made a decision and that’s where we’re going. We’ve just got to find out what we’re racing against.

“It will be exciting. It will be nice to compete in another race in England and see what he’s made of.

“At the moment he’s showing a nice turn of foot which they are not always blessed with. Let’s hope he can keep doing that when it’s needed.”

Prince Faisal has a promising two-year-old, by Mishriff’s sire Make Believe, in Third Kingdom, who was third to subsequent Solario Stakes scorer Etonian at Sandown on the latest of his two starts.

The colt could be back action again shortly after missing an intended outing at Chelmsford recently.

“He was down to go to Chelmsford the other day and just had a bit of heat in a joint and they elected not to go,” said Voute.

“It has since been looked at and is nothing serious. He should be out soon.

“The form of that second race of his has come out quite nicely so it was a shame he couldn’t go to Chelmsford as it looked like his for the taking but we’re waiting for John to give him an entry and see how good he is.

“Let’s hope he can win on his third start and we can look forward to a good 2021.”