KIRK EYES CHURCHILL FOR SALOUEN
THERE were 16 entries left at the latest confirmation stage for Saturday’s £40,000 Listed Betway Churchill Stakes at Lingfield.
It is one of two Fast-Track Qualifiers to be run this weekend – the other is the six-furlong £37,000 Listed Betway Golden Rose Stakes.
The winners of those contests will receive an automatic place in their respective races on Championships Finals Day, Good Friday, March 30 2018.
Salouen, runner-up in the Group One Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere, is among the entries for the Churchill and trainer Sylvester Kirk, pictured, is keen to run him and has booked champion jockey Silvestre De Sousa.
“I am seriously thinking about running Salouen at Lingfield Park on Saturday, although I need to speak to the owner first and have a look at the race,” said Kirk.
“He travelled out to Italy for the Premio Roma, which was called off because the track looked like a river, but he is in great form at the moment.
“We decided to give him an entry here because we got him ready for his run in Italy and he is jumping out of his skin.
“We haven’t got any plans for him over the winter – he wasn’t entered for Hong Kong – and we want to keep him straightforward for a nice four-year-old campaign.
“We could look at the Betway Winter Derby, although that would involve ® starting him off early next season. He should be fine on the all-weather as he trains on it all the time.
“It’s always a worry when they haven’t raced on it before, but most horses cope with it fine.”
Ed Dunlop’s Red Verdon also boasts Group One placed form in France and has solid all-weather form after being beaten a head by Titi Makfi at Kempton recently.
There is little to choose between that pair should they line up again.
Boynton could go in to bat for Godolphin after his recent placed effort in Listed company at Newmarket and there may be a French challenger in the shape of In The Lope.
He is trained by Pia Brandt, who sent over Metropol to contest the Churchill in 2015, when he finished third and fifth 12 months ago.
There were 28 possibles for the Listed Betway Golden Rose Stakes. The progressive three-year-old filly Diagnostic is the most interesting. She is unbeaten in three all-weather appearances, while Blue De Vega, third in last year’s Irish 2,000 Guineas, could make his second start since switching to trainer Robert Cowell. Leading jumps owner Alan Potts has died at the age of 80. The Potts husband-and-wife team enjoyed an incredible season in 2016-17, spearheaded by the Jessica Harringtontrained Sizing John realising a lifelong ambition for the Yorkshireman in winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March. Sizing John had also won the Stan James Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown and went on to complete at Punchestown in the Coral-sponsored equivalent. Harrington also trained Supasundae to win the Festival’s Coral Cup for Potts, while Fox Norton, Sizing Codelco and Pingshou won at the Grand National meeting at Aintree for Colin Tizzard.
CLASS ACT: Salouen, right, is entered at Lingfield on Saturday