The gauntlet laid down by the maturing Al Kazeem at Sandown the previous day was promptly picked up yesterday by the younger colt who may yet lead the home defence in Paris this autumn. But the fact that Intello was dropped in trip, as well as grade, for a Group Three race at Maisons-Laffitte appeared to compound reservations about the suitability of the stamina test presented by the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
The brilliant winner of the Prix du Jockey Club was undertaking a reconnaissance of a straight mile, prior to the Prix Jacques Le Marois at Deauville next month. After watching Intello slickly dismiss five inferiors in the Prix Messidor, however, the Wertheimer brothers’ racing manager would not be drawn on whether the Arc might prove the ultimate target. “We will see,” Pierre-Yves Bureau said. “We want to go step by step. We wanted to drop him back to a mile and then go for the Marois. After that, we will talk with André Fabre and decide. It is a little bit too early to talk about the Arc. Of course, it is one possibility, but we will see after the Marois, if we can win that. Then we will decide the programme for the rest of the season.”
Having suffered his only defeat when an unlucky third in a mile Classic, the Galileo colt’s key asset remains a turn of foot. But Fabre is the master of the Arc, with seven wins, and Intello duly remains at the head of the betting at around 6-1.
Another three-year-old with Arc potential emerged from the German Derby yesterday, but Peter Schiergen indicated that Lucky Speed might wait until next season before venturing beyond home soil.
As for Al Kazeem, he will sit out the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot with the Arc in mind. Having saddled him to win a third consecutive Group One in the Coral Eclipse Stakes, Roger Charlton consulted with Al Kazeem’s owner-breeder, John Deer, and agreed he now deserved a break.
Deer said the Juddmonte International at York next month was a possible target, but confirmed that the Arc was the ultimate priority. “My preference would be York, if ground conditions suited,” he said. “But if it was good to firm, I’d say we’d wait for the Irish Champion Stakes. My family is keen to go to Longchamp, so that is the place to aim for.”
CHRIS McGRATH’S NAP: Orpsie Boy (4.30 Ayr)
NEXT BEST: Shifting Star (8.00 Windsor)
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