Arc looks ultimate target as Ryan takes long-term view over Grey Gatsby

KEVIN RYAN has warned that Yorkshire horse of the year The Grey Gatsby could miss the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot next month following an arduous campaign.

The Hambleton trainer believes the champion colt will be even better next season and he does not want to be carried away by the horse’s dethronement of Aidan O’Brien’s dual Derby winner Australia in last weekend’s Grade One Irish Champion Stakes.

The champion colt’s five races this year culminated with a career-best return.

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The Grey Gatsby has also claimed the Betfred Dante and the French Derby this season, but soft ground could yet rule him out of Champions Day.

“He’s come back absolutely fantastic, very fresh and well,” said Ryan.

“He only lost six kilos all weekend which is quite incredible when you think about it, the race obviously took very little out of him.

“I’ve decided from now on I’m going to let the horse do the talking, he doesn’t need me to talk him up any more. It’s not a given that he runs at Ascot, the ground could have gone soft by then.

“He’s getting better with every race and I’d love to go to Ascot, but it’s all about next year with him. I’m convinced he’ll get a mile-and-a-half next year, the French Derby is nearly 11 furlongs anyway. If he doesn’t run at Ascot, that will be it and he’ll start off next year in the Dubai Duty Free.”

The Dubai Duty Free – one of the support races to the Dubai World Cup – could be the prelude to a campaign that culminates with the 2015 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe when The Grey Gatsby would be expected to be at the peak of his physical powers.

In other news, Leyburn trainer Karl Burke has attributed Glenalmond’s last place finish in Saturday’s Champagne Stakes at Doncaster to a soft tissue injury.

“He wasn’t in good shape after the race – in fact, he was on three legs,” said Burke. “He’s very much one for future so I’ll monitor him over the next few weeks.”

However, the handler said Toocoolforschool could make a swift return to the track in the Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury on Saturday.

The juvenile finished half -a-length adrift of Chesham Stakes fourth Nafaqa in the Listed Flying Scotsman Stakes at Doncaster last Friday, having previously got to within a head of Dutch Connection in the Acomb Stakes at York’s Ebor meeting.

Burke, who won the Mill Reef with Lord Shanakill in 2008, said: “We were over the moon. He’s come out of the race in good nick. He’s eaten up and is well within himself.”

Jockey charged: Page 7.