Longchamp third Alenquer to be given St Leger entry as Haggas ponders options
William Haggas will take his time choosing Alenquer’s next target after admitting his Royal Ascot winner was “not at his best” when finishing third in the Grand Prix de Paris on Wednesday night.
The three-year-old started slowly at Longchamp and was held up in the early stages under James Doyle, and although he finished his race powerfully to grab third at the line, he was never within touching distance of the runaway winner Hurricane Lane.
Reflecting on the performance, Haggas said: “He just got a bit far back really and I don’t think we saw him at his best on Wednesday. He stayed on well in what was very tricky ground which didn’t really suit him.
"I can make excuses all day but the bottom line is the other horse ran faster on the day. James [Doyle] was very happy with him, he was following Mr Rouget’s horse Cheshire Academy the whole way but the winner was just too far ahead of him. If he’d been following Hurricane Lane it might have been different.”
Alenquer, winner of the King Edward VII Stakes last month and conqueror of Cazoo Derby winner Adayar at Sandown in May, is entered in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes at Ascot next weekend, but that appears an unlikely target with Haggas in no rush to make a decision on the colt’s immediate future.
Beyond that, Alenquer has entries in the Group 2 Great Voltigeur Stakes, the Group 1 Juddmonte International at York’s Ebor festival, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe back at Longchamp in October and he will also be given an entry to the St Leger, the final British Classic of the season.
However, Alenquer has yet to race beyond a mile and a half and Haggas is unsure the two and a half furlongs more at Doncaster would be suitable.
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“He’ll get an entry to the St Leger but I’m not convinced he needs to be running in a race like that at the moment,” Haggas said. “I’ve got to give his plans some thought and then discuss it with the horse’s owner. There is no rush to make a decision.
“The St Leger is a mile six and half furlongs and I’m not sure he’d be an absolute certain stayer at that trip. He was running on in the Grand Prix de Paris because he was passing horses that had run out of puff. It wasn’t that he was a stayer, he just wasn’t in the right position from the start.
“He’s won a Group 3 at a mile and a quarter so I don’t think he’s a dead-set stayer, he’s quicker than that. He’s got lots of entries but I don’t know what we’ll do next. I’ll have to think about it.”
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