Monday’s Racing Chatter – Sobetsu To Swerve The Oaks

An interesting weekend of racing has led to a few key decisions being taken. Who has been letting the cat out of the bag?

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Sobetsu’s French Foray

Charlie Appleby looks to have become a confirmed Francophile, following Sobetsu’s victory in the G1 Prix Saint-Alary. The trainer now wants his charge to dodge the English Oaks and have a crack at the Prix de Diane, instead.

“John (Ferguson, Godolphin chief executive and racing manager) and I have discussed it with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, and the final decision is that we target the Prix de Diane.

“The ground at Deauville, which in my opinion was good to soft, was a key factor in her success, and she is more likely to get the ground she likes at Chantilly than at Epsom.”

Zhukova To Stay Over?

It could be a while before we see Zhukova run on Irish or British soil again. Dermot Weld hasn’t ruled out a tilt at the Pretty Polly Stakes, but connections are also considering keeping the 5-year-old in America for the time being and the Manhattan Stakes could be the target.

“It’s a very historic race and some great horses have won it. I thought the conditions of the race suited and the weight conditions were attractive. The actual ground conditions were what we wanted and the rain came.”, said Weld after the filly’s victory in the Man o’War Stakes at the weekend.

“She’s a high-class filly and won three Group races in Ireland last year. Don’t forget she beat Found twice and on that form she had an outstanding chance. We got Johnny V (Velazquez) and the rest is history.

He added:”I’ll speak to the owner now, but there is a slight possibility she’ll stay there and run in the Manhattan or she could come home and we’d look at the Pretty Polly.

“We might even leave her off for the summer and look at the Yorkshire Oaks and Arc. That’s probably more likely. I’ve always felt that she would be a very good mare as a five-year-old. She loves an ease in the ground.”

Baked Ground Is A Grind, For Clever Cookie

Peter Niven says that Clever Cookie did not appreciate the dry Spring and that the 9-year-old has been stuck in the stable, waiting for the ground to soften. The ex-National Hunt Jockey is hoping for some further downpours, but he’s confident that the horse will be back in action soon.

“The idea is to run, a drop more rain would be nice. He is in great form with himself, but is behind in his work,” said Niven.

“It’s a shame we didn’t get a race in but he wouldn’t have run at any of the trials, as such, because it was too quick anyway.

“Hopefully, it’s York on Friday and if things go well, he’ll be back there the week after as well for the Listed race that he has won a couple of times (Grand Cup, on May 27).”

Roger Targets The Royal Festival

Appeared’s weekend victory was partially down to the patience that has been shown to him by connections, according to Roger Varian. The win came in his first race since being gelded and a trip to Royal Ascot could well be on the cards.

“Appeared won very well at York last year and probably needs a bit of space between his races.

“He likes fast ground so with the unpredictable weather we came here rather than wait for a more valuable race at York next week.

“All being well, I would like to take him back for the Duke of Edinburgh Handicap at Royal Ascot.”

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