'It is an informal verbal agreement,' Anthony Stroud, the Sheikh's racing manager, said yesterday. 'If he is released by Dermot Weld, we can call on him. But it does not mean that we will use him all the time.
'The only difference as I see it to our previous dealings with Michael (Roberts) is that in future, if we have a runner in a Group race and Khalid Abdullah or someone else approaches him, he checks with us first. This really is an insurance policy.'
Snurge failed by pounds 252 to break the record for the most money won by a British-trained horse when finishing only fourth in the Prix du Conseil de Paris at Longchamp yesterday. The six-year-old, trained at Whatcombe by Paul Cole, needed to reach one of the first three places to beat the mark achieved by Breeders' Cup Turf winner Pebbles in the mid-Eighties.
'I moved early on Snurge because the pace was so slow,' Richard Quinn, his rider, said. 'He tried his best but he just doesn't have the pace to win these slowly run races.' Snurge was eight lengths behind Dancienne at the line.