Hughie Morrison would “love” to win the Betfred Ebor at York with his Royal Ascot winner Arab Dawn.
Morrison’s runners performed with great credit last week with a win in Duke of Edinburgh Handicap supplemented by big runs from Fun Mac and Chil The Kite.
Where Arab Dawn goes next, though, is still up in the air. “We’re having a debate about what might be his best trip,” said the trainer.
“It could be 10 furlongs, 14 or even two miles. The great thing about him is that he can get himself out of trouble. You can get a position, he relaxes and he has a calm mentality, you can move him when you want.
“If he settles, we’d love to win an Ebor. That might be the plan. He’s also in the John Smith’s Cup but that could be a bit sharp.
“You’ve got to target these big handicaps and then hope they progress to something grander later in the year.”
Luca Cumani has indicated that Postponed – winner of the prestigious Great Voltigeur Stakes at last year’s Ebor festival – could take on many of Europe’s best middle distance horses in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot next month.
Cumani was speaking after Postponed finished third in Saturday’s Hardwicke Stakes on the final day of Royal Ascot to Sir Miichael Stoute’s Snow Sky who, ironically, was second in the Voltigeur.
“Postponed ran a good race. Good luck to the winner, who won well on the day, but it wasn’t a truly-run race,” said Cumani. “I think our horse ran well in the circumstances and I think we’ll let him take his chance in the King George.”
In other post-Ascot plans, Easton Angel – a winner of Beverley’s Hilary Needler Trophy last month – will skip the Weatherbys Super Sprint in favour of a crack at the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes at Newmarket on July 10.
The Michael Dods-trained filly lost her unbeaten record in the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot, but enhanced her reputation when beating all bar Wesley Ward’s enormous American challenger Acapulco.
Royal Ascot winner Oriental Fox will not be asked to turn out quickly in Saturday’s John Smith’s Northumberland Plate at Newcastle, for which 46 possibles remain.
Mark Johnston’s classy stayer, who was sixth in the race last year, made a winning seasonal reappearance in the Queen Alexandra Stakes on Saturday but connections have decided not to go to the well twice in a week.
Heading the weights still is Peter Niven’s Clever Cookie, forced to miss the Ascot Gold Cup last week due to fast ground.
Barry Geraghty has been named as No 1 rider to leading owner JP McManus, replacing the retired AP McCoy. McManus’s racing manager Frank Berry confirmed the news last night.
Ever since McCoy announced his intention to retire in February, Geraghty has been favourite with the bookmakers to fill the massive void left by the 20-times champion. Geraghty has been riding principally for Nicky Henderson since 2008 and the pair have won most of the biggest races on the calendar together, including the Gold Cup with Bobs Worth in 2013.
However, Geraghty has worn the famous green and gold silks of McManus to plenty of big-race successes himself, with More Of That, Jezki and Shutthefrontdoor’s wins in the World Hurdle, Champion Hurdle and Irish Grand National the three most notable.