Thursday, May 19, 2011

French star Gentoo could miss Ascot Gold Cup

An eventually fruitless journey to Japan at the start of this month to compete in the hugely valuable Group 1 Tenno Sho at Kyoto could prove the undoing of the plan to run top French stayer Gentoo in next month's feature Ascot Gold Cup, writes Elliot Slater.

Connections of the talented seven-year-old stayer had been tempted by the £2 million prize money up for grabs in the coveted Japanese staying contest, but in the end the Alain Lyon-trained gelding could only manage ninth place (beaten over 7 lengths) behind local hero Hiruno D'Amour. Those following him in the Royal Ascot betting would have been deeply disappointed.

The return journey to Japan has apparently taken more out of Gentoo than had been anticipated and Lyon reports that his stable star lost a considerable amount of weight as a result of his abortive attempt to conquer the Japanese racing scene. Lyon is concerned that the Ascot Gold Cup might come just a shade too soon to have Gentoo back to his best in time to take on the cream of the European staying division.

As short as 12/1 with some firms for the blue riband event at the royal fixture (although available at up to 20/1 with others), Gentoo showed last year that he is very close to the top of the tree in the European staying division. He progressed from winning a decent Deauville handicap last spring to winning the Group 3 Prix Gladiateur at Longchamp in September, the start of a rich vein of form that saw him go on to win at the very highest level, taking both the Group 1 Prix du Cadran and the Group 1 Prix Royal Oak during a very fruitful October campaign.

A confirmed mud lover, Gentoo's participation at Ascot would also be very much in doubt if the dry spell continues and the ground remains on the fast side of 'good'.

No comments:

Post a Comment