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Oxx preparing to Rock Paris

SADDLER'S ROCK will bid to record his first Group One victory when he takes part in the Qatar Prix du Cadran at Longchamp on October 7.

Trainer John Oxx is aiming the four-year-old stayer at the French marathon over two and a half miles on Arc day after he failed to defend his Doncaster Cup crown.

Unsuited by the slow pace, this year's Goodwood Cup winner was only fifth behind Times Up but Oxx was pleased he improved on his poor display at York on his previous start.

"He's fine. He came out of it well, it wasn't a hard race for him because they only sprinted down the straight. It was a very slow pace," said the Currabeg handler. "It didn't suit him and he was just getting going at the end.

"He's not having much luck apart from winning at Goodwood. He ran much better than at York and he's obviously coming back to form. It's just the slow pace was no good to him.

"We're looking at the Prix du Cadran next, so hopefully he'll run there."

French runners Dunaden and Americain share top weight for the Emirates Melbourne Cup at Flemington Park on November 6.

The pair, trained by Mikael Delzangles and Alain de Royer-Dupre respectively, have won the last two renewals of the Grade One handicap over two miles.

If either can score off a weight of 58kg (9st 2lb) they would join an elite club of just five runners who have secured two wins or more in the Cup.

Local runner Efficient, who won the 2007 Cup, is the other previous winner being aimed at this year's race and the Robert Hickmott-trained veteran has been allocated 55kg (8st 9lb).

Ireland's dual Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Dermot Weld has three entries with Ballyroan Stakes winner Galileo's Choice, who entered quarantine last week, on 53.5kg. His other possibles are Rite Of Passage 55kg and Sapphire on 52kg (8st 3lb).

Other Irish-trained runners in the 151 entries include John Oxx's Hartani and Aidan O'Brien's I Have A Dream with all weights lower than 52kg.

Mount Athos heads most markets for the race and he has been allocated 54kg (8st 7lb) as he bids to give trainer Luca Cumani a first win in the race.

Marco Botti is anticipating further improvement from the promising Moohaajim ahead of his run in the Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury on Saturday.

The Cape Cross colt finished fifth amongst Group One company in a red-hot Prix Morny at Deauville last month and the form has already received a boost with the fourth home, Sir Prancealot, landing last week's Flying Childers at Doncaster.

"It's forecast to be a dry week and he wants good ground," said Botti.


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