Duke Of Marmalade could run at Dundalk
DUNDALK, rather than Great Leighs, emerged as a possible venue for Duke Of Marmalade's trial for the Breeders' Cup Classic on Friday should it be decided to bypass the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe with the five-time Group 1 winner.
In a move which could deny the Essex venue Duke Of Marmalade's presence for the Thoroughbred Open Classic on Friday, Dundalk and Horse Racing Ireland announced that Ireland's only Polytrack course will stage the Dundalk Breeders' Cup Trial Stakes, over 1m2f 110 yards, at its meeting on Friday October 3.
Reacting to the development Aidan O'Brien said: "It's a great initiative by Dundalk to put on this new race and Duke Of Marmalade could run in it instead of going to Great Leighs next Friday.
"However, it's still possible that he could run in the Arc and miss out on both of the all-weather races. We'll see what the forecast for the week leading up to the Arc is going to be. If it is a bad forecast with the likelihood of soft ground at Longchamp, then Great Leighs would still be a possibility for the Duke.
"If the forecast is good then the Arc would remain an option, with the Dundalk race there for him should it look like being soft in Paris in the days leading up to the Arc. We'll just have to wait and see what happens."
The Dundalk race will be a €30,000 event and track manager Jim Martin said: "It is another significant milestone for Dundalk and the fact that Aidan has indicated Duke Of Marmalade could run in the race if the ground at Longchamp is unsuitable is an exciting prospect for Dundalk stadium."
Duke Of Marmalade has not run since scoring his fifth consecutive Group 1 win in the Juddmonte International Stakes at Newmarket last month. He was due to run in the Tattersalls Millions Irish Champion Stakes early this month but missed out following heavy rain at Leopardstown in the few days before the race.
Tim Jones, racing manager at Great Leighs, was philosophical on hearing the news. He said: "Aidan O'Brien's office very kindly rang me to tell me the news but it's not out of the question that they won't be making some entries anyway.
"To be able to put on a meeting which captured his imagination so much so that he wasgoing to support it was a real shot in the arm. I suspect if the weather stays as it is, Duke Of Marmalade might be heading to France anyway."