Golden Horn owner raises doubt over Irish Champion run
Golden Horn could travel to France for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe without another run should conditions turn against him in the Qipco Irish Champion Stakes.
The ten-furlong showpiece at Leopardstown on September 12 has been identified as the next step along the ladder for the Derby winner, which lost his unbeaten record to Arabian Queen in the Juddmonte International last Wednesday.
John Gosden's inmate was not suited by the rain-softened terrain at York, with the ground at the Foxrock venue crucial to his participation in the Group One. If Golden Horn was forced to bypass the Irish Champion, owner Anthony Oppenheimer would be unfazed by the prospect of charting a direct route to the Arc on October 4.
Should it also get too wet at Longchamp, the son of Cape Cross still has the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot a fortnight later as a viable alternative.
"Sometimes in racing not everything goes smoothly, and things did not go smoothly at York," said Oppenheimer.
"The horse was still very valiant in defeat, though, and was not beaten very far at all. You cannot win them all, and it was a very exciting race to watch.
"The plan now is to go to Ireland, where we hope they will have an Indian summer. Leopardstown is a very good track and drains very well so we hope the ground will be fine for him.
"If we cannot travel to Ireland because of the ground, that (going straight to the Arc) is a possibility.
"There is also the Champion Stakes to fall back on, so the horse still has plenty of options."