Inspiral To Avoid Ascot; Paddington To The QEII

Inspiral | Scoop Dyga

 

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Storm Babet has decided the final shape of the fields for Saturday's Qipco Champions Day fixture, with the softening ground ruling Inspiral (GB) (Frankel {GB}) out of the G1 Queen Elizabeth II S. and making up Aidan O'Brien's mind as to where to point Paddington (GB) (Siyouni {Fr}). That four-times group 1 winner takes up his engagement in the QEII, leaving a total of nine to take part in the G1 Qipco Champion S. Heading the list for the 10-furlong highlight is last year's winner Bay Bridge (GB) (New Bay {GB}), with the improving Horizon Dore (Fr) (Dabirsim {Fr}) and Derby runner-up King Of Steel (Wootton Bassett {GB}) declared alongside Shadwell's G1 Juddmonte International and G1 Prince of Wales's S. hero Mostahdaf (Ire) (Frankel {GB}), who had been a doubt earlier in the week due to the dire forecast. There are 11 engaged in the QEII, with The Aga Khan's Tahiyra (Ire) (Siyouni {Fr}) a doubt to tackle Paddington if the ground worsens again, while Imad Al Sagar's Nashwa (GB) (Frankel {GB}) has been diverted from the Champion by the Gosdens.

Cheveley Park Stud's managing director Chris Richardson said of Inspiral on Thursday, “We've obviously been monitoring the weather and the rain that's fallen. I know John Gosden walked the track yesterday, there's been a subsequent 12 millimetres and it looks like there's more to come. As we know, when she ran on soft ground in the Sussex at Goodwood in the summer, Frankie looked after her as it wasn't the sort of performance she was enjoying. The decision now is whether the Breeders' Cup [Filly & Mare Turf] is an option. John is going to speak to Mrs Thompson about it and then we'll know more, but it's very much up to her to decide whether she wants the filly to go to America. They're liaising between them and there's decisions to be made on whether she runs again this year and whether she's kept in training next year. She's a wonderful filly, Mrs Thompson is the owner of the horse and will make the decision.”

In other news, the G1 Commonwealth Cup and G1 July Cup hero Shaquille (GB) (Charm Spirit {Ire}) will not run in the G1 Qipco British Champions Sprint. Steve Brown said of the 3-year-old, who was disappointing in the G1 Haydock Sprint Cup, “He wasn't just tracking through as normal behind with his movement. It looks minimal, but given the ground conditions, which are obviously going to be pretty testing, we're just not prepared to take any chances with him. It's as simple as that really.”

Marc Chan's defending Champions Sprint title-holder Kinross (GB) (Kingman {GB}) will face 14 in the six-furlong bonanza, there are 14 declared for a wide-open G1 Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares S., and Ballydoyle's star stayer Kyprios (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) faces seven in the G2 Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup. The storm has resulted in 13mm of rain falling, with further rain forecast on Friday.

Ascot's clerk of the course Chris Stickels is ready to switch the Long Distance Cup, Filly & Mares and Champion S. to the drier inner hurdles track for the first time since 2019. “If we have heavy ground on any part of the round course, we can move the round course races to the inner track and we have to decide that before 8 a.m. on Saturday,” he explained. “Looking at the forecast for Friday, I would say that is quite likely. I think the rain we will get overnight will turn us back to soft on the round course and maybe even if we get the top end, some heavy places on the round course. It's a shame we are a week later in the calendar this year and even today, John Gosden said if we were racing today the ground would have been perfect.”

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