Britain's Arlington Million raiders strut their stuff in Chicago for first time
The two British contenders for Saturday's Grade 1 Arlington Million emerged from quarantine in Chicago on Tuesday and had a first feel of the turf track at the venue.
Circus Couture, trained by Jane Chapple-Hyam, and the Simon Crisford-trained Century Dream are part of a ten-strong European raiding party spread across three Grade 1s this weekend.
As well as the British pair, the Aidan O'Brien-trained Deauville goes in the feature race, while O'Brien has Athena in the Grade 1 Beverly D Stakes, in which she will face the Mark Johnston-trained Nyaleti.
The master of Ballydoyle also has two of the five Irish entries in the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes in Hunting Horn and Lucius Tiberius. The others are Bandua (Dermot Weld), Ming (Joseph O'Brien) and Platinum Warrior (Mick Halford).
The Europeans have a decent record in the Million, with wins for O'Brien (Powerscourt, 2005, and Cape Blanco, 2011), John Gosden (Debussy, 2010) and David O'Meara, for whom Mondialiste was a breakthrough Grade 1 winner in 2016.
Newmarket-based Jane Chapple-Hyam is not breaking new ground with Circus Couture, as she saddled Mull Of Killough to finish eighth in the famed 1m2f contest in 2013.
Speaking from the track on Tuesday, Chapple-Hyam reported: "Circus Couture has travelled over great and he's in the box right next to where they put Mully a few years ago.
"He and the other Europeans that have arrived had a trot around the track for the first time this morning and, touch wood, we look good to go. John Egan will keep the ride."
On conditions in Chicago, she added: "It seems strange to say it but it's the same as it is in England. It's in the mid-30s and the horses have cooling fans around the place so they're doing fine."
Formerly trained in Italy, Circus Couture ran his best race for new connections when third in the Royal Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot in June.
Chapple-Hyam added: "It's a tough race and if we can finish sixth or better I would be delighted."
Chapple-Hyam, however, is already celebrating like a millionaire even before Saturday's race as she and her partners have recently sold smart three-year-old Naval Intelligence to Hong Kong for £1.3 million.
The son of War Front was acquired privately for less than 10,000gns from the Coolmore operation last year and is unbeaten in two starts, most recently taking the Listed Sir Henry Cecil Stakes at Newmarket last month.
That form was advertised when the third-placed Masaarr went on to win a Listed race in France last week.
The trainer added: "For a three-year-old gelding, it was an offer too good to turn down. We look forward to seeing him run in the Hong Kong Derby next year."
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