Meade: Advertise will beat the Ballydoyle Phoenix battalion – as long as he runs
If Advertise runs in this weekend's Keeneland Phoenix Stakes he will win, no matter which of his ten entries Aidan O'Brien saddles – but he might yet not run.
That was the Tuesday update from a supremely confident Martyn Meade, who is frightened of nothing as he looks forward to an imminent Group 1 mission for his star juvenile, an intended starter at either the Curragh on Sunday or in Deauville's Prix Morny seven days later.
Should Advertise head to Ireland, the wide-margin July Stakes winner will seek to put a temporary halt to the domination of O'Brien, triumphant in no fewer than 16 runnings of the Phoenix, making it the Group 1 prize he has won more than any other.
Among the Ballydoyle entries is Paddy Power's 11-8 favourite Sergei Prokofiev, most recently a neck behind Advertise in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot when the pair filled the placings behind the now sidelined Calyx. Britain's only possible Phoenix contender is 7-4 to triumph – and, providing he runs, triumph is exactly what Meade thinks he will do.
"I think we are the best horse around at the moment and it's just a case of which race we want to go and win," said Meade.
"We'll beat Sergei Prokofiev again so I wouldn't be worried about him, and, to be quite frank, I wouldn't worry about any of them. I know that sounds terribly arrogant but I think that's what it is."
Weighing up the pros and cons of the two international options, Meade said: "The target at all times has been the Phoenix Stakes, but I'm now debating whether we should go to Deauville for the Morny the following week instead.
"We would like to step up to seven furlongs when we can, so there's no doubt the stiffer six at the Curragh would be better for us. Against that, it's not possible to get a plane to the Curragh on Sunday, which is really annoying. We can only get one on Saturday, but I don't really want to leave him over there.
"It also seemed better for the moment not to take on Calyx, who was heading to Deauville. However, Calyx is now not going which changes our view of the Morny a bit. The prize-money in France is slightly better as well."
Meade also added that Advertise's Newmarket partner Frankie Dettori is keen to maintain his association with the Phoenix Thoroughbred-owned son of Showcasing.
"Frankie cannot wait to ride the horse," said Meade. "He'll go anywhere."
If he ends up going to Ireland, Dettori will be charged with preventing O'Brien turning 16 into 17 in a race he first won 20 years ago when Lavery scored under the late Walter Swinburn.
The sport's most dominant trainer has captured the last four runnings but will be going into this year's race with his huge string under a cloud due to what O'Brien has described as a bug in Ballydoyle.
O'Brien said: "We're looking at running Sergei Prokofiev, The Irish Rover and Fairyland, although it will be another few days before we finalise things.
"All the horses that are left in are possibles, including Land Force, who has come out of his Richmond Stakes win well."
The Jessica Harrington-trained pair Indigo Balance and Klute, plus Tom Mullins' Mia Mento, are the only other acceptors.
Underfoot conditions at the Curragh were described as good to firm on Tuesday. The forecast is for unsettled weather over the next few days.
Keeneland Phoenix Stakes (3.35 Curragh, Sunday)
Paddy Power: 11-8 Sergei Prokofiev, 7-4 Advertise, 6 Fairyland, 12 Land Force, 14 The Irish Rover, 16 Indigo Balance, Just Wonderful, So Perfect, 25 Klute, Van Beethoven, 40 Gossamer Wings, Mia Mento, North Wind, 50 Fantasy.
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