Godolphin switch Ibn Khaldun to Doncaster

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The Independent Online

Ambitious plans by the Godolphin team to run progressive youngster Ibn Khaldun in the new Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf race on Friday have been scrapped in favour of a tilt at Doncaster's Racing Post Trophy the following day. The colt is still among the entries for the $1m (£493,000) contest at Monmouth Park, but the blues' racing manager Simon Crisford confirmed yesterday that Town Moor was the target.

"We had to make the decision before we knew what the ground would be like at Doncaster, and knowing that the profile of the race there probably does not lend itself to his style of racing," he said, "but when push came to shove, it was still more preferable than travelling him to America. He is progressive, very much so, but perhaps not mentally ready for a trip like that." Ibn Khaldun, a son of his fellow former colourbearer Dubai Destination, has taken giant steps up the ladder in recent weeks and goes to Doncaster on a four-timer after winning his maiden, a nursery and the Group Three Autumn Stakes.

The last six runnings of the Racing Post Trophy, the last Group One prize of the domestic season, have produced three winners who went on the Derby glory: High Chaparral in 2001, Motivator in 2004 and Authorized last year. "With that long, demanding straight at Doncaster, it does tend to be a grinders race, albeit high-class grinders," said Crisford.

Ibn Khaldun is the product of two top milers – his sire won the Queen Anne Stakes and his dam Gossamer the Irish 1,000 Guineas – and Crisford feels that miling will be his game. "To win a Racing Post Trophy you generally need a stayers' profile," he said, "and our horse is more spit and sprint. But he is improving and has the speed and class to run a very good race. We hope the rain stays away so he can use both."

At yesterday's declaration stage, 19 colts remain in the £200,000 contest. Ibn Khadun's stablemate Iguazu Falls will not take part, nor will three of the five Ballydoyle nominations. Aidan O'Brien, going for a fifth success after Saratoga Springs (1997), Aristotle (1999), High Chaparral and Brian Boru five years ago, is set to rely on King Of Rome and Frozen Fire, both sons of Montjeu.

Unusually, a top-level winning juvenile colt has yet to emerge from Ballydoyle this season. Saturday's contenders will try to set the record straight off maiden victories; King Of Rome scored by nearly six lengths at Tipperary 16 days ago and Frozen Fire comes on from a narrower, but equally comfortable, success at Gowran Park in August. Also from Ireland comes the likely favourite, the Jessica Harrington-trained Curtain Call, who followed his second place to New Approach in the Futurity Stakes with a clear-cut win in the Group Two Beresford Stakes over Saturday's distance. The son of Sadler's Wells is in the betting lists for next year's Derby as fourth favourite at 25-1, alongside Frozen Fire. The home defence is likely to include River Proud (Paul Cole), Confront (Sir Michael Stoute), Declaration Of War (Peter Chapple-Hyam) and City Leader (Brian Meehan), whose half-brother Commander Collins won the race in 1998.

The ground at Doncaster is currently good, good to soft in places, with little significant rain forecast this week. And dry conditions in the north could compromise Kauto Star's scheduled seasonal debut in the Old Roan Chase at Aintree the following day. Ground allowing, the seven-year-old is due to face Exotic Dancer, My Way De Solzen and Monet's Garden in the two-and-a-half miler.

Yesterday at Wolverhampton Jamie Spencer reduced Seb Sanders' lead in the race for the jockeys' title to two after a favourites' four-timer. From seven rides he opened with a neck win on Councellor (13-8) in the claimer, and followed up on Peter's Storm (2-1) by the same distance in the two-year-old sprint, on High Standing (4-6) by two lengths in the nursery and on Furmigadelaguista (3-1) by a head in the 12-furlong handicap. Sanders drew a blank at Pontefract.

On Sunday night at Woodbine in Toronto, the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Ask, ridden by Ryan Moore, failed by the width of one of his whiskers to land the Canadian International, denied by local outsider Cloudy's Hope. But at the start of Breeders' Cup week there was a European success in the earlier E P Taylor Stakes, which went to Prix Vermeille heroine Mrs Lindsay in record time. The Theatrical three-year-old, trained by Francois Rohaut, was ridden by Johnny Murtagh.

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