Workforce to miss Ascot as Stoute reviews plans
Workforce has been ruled out of Royal Ascot next week, with connections keen to explore other options for their exciting four-year-old.
The colt has nevertheless pleased his trainer Michael Stoute since making a sparkling winning seasonal debut at Sandown last month.
As a Derby and Arc de Triomphe winner, Workforce would have been one of the main attractions at the Royal meeting, which will feature a huge array of international stars, both equine and human, with 11 nations having made entries. Workforce was engaged in both the Prince of Wales' Stakes and the Hardwicke Stakes.
It is understood that possible targets now being examined are the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud, over a mile-and-a-half, and the mile-and-a-quarter Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Sandown Park early next month.
"I need to speak to the Prince (Khalid Abdulla) to discuss where Workforce goes next," said Stoute.
Workforce has shown a liking for Sandown. He impressed in the Brigadier Gerard, and the stiff uphill run home seems to suit the colt.
Missing the Prince Of Wales' Stakes means that the long-awaited clash with the Australian champion So You Think is still on hold.
It does, however, make life less complicated for Ryan Moore, who is free to renew his association with the Aidan O'Brien-trained So You Think, on which he won the Tattersalls Gold Cup at The Curragh.
The Jim Bolger-trained Banimpire could take in Sunday's Kerry Group Noblesse Stakes at Cork en route to a tilt at next week's Ribblesdale Stakes.
Three times a Pattern winner this term, Banimpire was fifth behind Misty For Me over a mile in the Irish 1,000 Guineas. Having achieved her hat-trick between nine and 10 furlongs, the Holy Roman Empire filly would be having a first stab at the Ribblesdale trip of a mile-and-a-half in Sunday's Group Three.
"If the ground at Cork isn't too fast, Banimpire will probably run there and then go for the Ribblesdale," Bolger explained. "Otherwise she will go straight for the Ascot race."
The going at Cork was reported as good to firm yesterday morning, though six millimetres of rain fell at the Mallow venue during the day.
There are 20 entries for the Noblesse, with O'Brien responsible for nine. Vivacious Vivienne is a possible starter, as are three British contenders.
There is an equally strong cross-channel flavour to the Listed sprint on the same card. Inxile is one of three that Dandy Nicholls has entered. Kevin Ryan has put in the Greenlands Stakes runner-up Tiddliwinks.
Mick Halford's Invincible Ash is another to feature among the 13 entries for the five-furlong contest. The six-year-old mare is in the Golden Jubilee and King's Stand Stakes at Ascot, but Halford revealed yesterday that her primary target remains the Ballyogan Stakes at Leopardstown tomorrow. One that is Golden Jubilee-bound is Charles O'Brien's Bewitched. O'Brien has confirmed that she is an intended runner in Saturday week's Group One. Bewitched was yesterday trimmed two points to 14/1.
Meanwhile, the Fairyhouse meeting scheduled for next Wednesday evening will be held at Navan instead. Last Wednesday's allotted Fairyhouse fixture switched to Tipperary, and the Turf Club announced yesterday that the ground at Fairyhouse has still not recovered enough to race on following the winter schedule.