Sport

Thursday 19 October 2017

The Fugue enters Leopardstown frame

The Fugue
The Fugue

Ground conditions at Leopardstown could lead to Yorkshire Oaks heroine The Fugue taking her chance in the Red Mills Irish Champion Stakes on Saturday.

John Gosden's filly clinched her second Group One prize with a mesmerising display on the Knavesmire last month, after which the Clarehaven handler mentioned the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and a return trip to the Breeders' Cup as possible options.

At that stage, a trip to Leopardstown was not discussed, but with the prospect of her favoured fast ground looking likely, she has been confirmed for what would be a fascinating clash with the colts.

Simon Marsh, racing and bloodstock manager for The Fugue's owners Lord and Lady Lloyd Webber, said: "John (Gosden) is not here at the moment, but we will talk about things in the next couple of days.

"Looking at the weather forecast there is not a lot of rain around at the moment and she has got her preferred ground, so we might let her take her chance. There has been no decision about Saturday, but she would be a definite possible."

While the drying weather could persuade connections of The Fugue to give an Irish mission the green light, it looks likely to scupper the participation of both Al Kazeem and Cirrus Des Aigles.

The Roger Charlton-trained Al Kazeem has already enjoyed a stunning campaign, claiming a Group One hat-trick in the Tattersalls Gold Cup, the Prince of Wales's Stakes and the Coral-Eclipse. However, he was beaten into third in a fast-ground Juddmonte International at York last month and ease underfoot is essential for his next assignment.

Charlton told his website, www.rogercharlton.com: "James Doyle walked the course (on Sunday) before his second Group One winner at the Curragh and described the ground as being very quick. So unless there is a change in the weather forecast before the weekend Al Kazeem is looking a doubtful starter. A decision will be taken nearer the time."

Al Kazeem is likely to have one more run before a tilt at either the Arc on October 6 or the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot 13 days later, according to his owner John Deer, who said: "I would think he'll have two more runs. He's entered in the Prix Foy at Longchamp (September 15) and then after that it's the Arc or the Champion Stakes

"I never thought I'd be talking about one of my horses running in races like this, it's unbelievable. He's had a great year and he's just a fantastic horse."

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