Chaldean is set for a break while connections attempt to get to the bottom of his lacklustre performance in the Prix Jean Prat.
Andrew Balding’s 2000 Guineas hero was dropping back in trip for the Deauville Group One having suffered defeat at the hands of Paddington in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.
However, despite travelling with what appeared his usual zest close to the pace in the hands of Oisin Murphy, the Classic winner failed to pick up and his challenge faded tamely as Fabrice Chappet’s Good Guess ran out a convincing winner.
The Frankel colt will now be fully checked over to see if there is any physical reason for the below-par display or whether a busy early season has simply caught up with the Juddmonte-owned colt.
“It was obviously not the horse’s true running, but we’ll have to wait until the horse gets home to check him out fully to see if there is something there or whether it was he had a hard race in Ascot and was just flat,” said Barry Mahon, European racing manager for the owners.
“On all known form it was not his true running and we’ll just have to see if anything comes to light.
“I think he’ll have to have a break now. Whether there is something underlying or it just turns out he has run flat, we’ll have to wait and see, but I think he will need a break now to freshen up for the back-end of the year.”
There are still plenty of big-race options on the table for Chaldean when he does return, with a trip to the Breeders’ Cup a possibility for later in the season.
Mahon added: “There’s lots of races for him. There’s the Prix Jacques le Marois (August 13), the race at Ascot on Champions Day (Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, October 21) and the Breeders’ Cup Mile (November 4), so there will be plenty of opportunities for him.
“I always felt the Breeders’ Cup would suit him, especially this year at Santa Anita, but we’ll have to see. We’ll get him checked out first and we know that wasn’t his true running.”
However, there was some joy for the owners this weekend as Ralph Beckett’s Westover enjoyed a more successful venture to France to pick up his second Group One in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud.
Last year’s Irish Derby winner had run fine races in defeat to finish second in both the Dubai Sheema Classic and Coronation Cup so far this term, but produced a brilliant display to open his four-year-old account.
“To start the season behind Equinox was a good run and he ran a great race in the Coronation and it’s now nice to get the Group One at Saint-Cloud and make him a dual Group One winner,” said Mahon.
“To break the track record was a special feat when you consider so many great champions have won that race over the years.”
Westover holds an entry for the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes at Ascot on July 29 and although that will remain high-up in connections’ thoughts, there is a chance that could come too soon following his heroic exertions in the Paris suburbs.
“I was talking to Ralph last night and we said we will definitely keep it (King George) under consideration,” continued Mahon.
“He’s had a hard race on Saturday – you don’t break the track record without having a hard race – and it’s not a huge amount of time between now and the King George. It will very much depend on the horse’s well-being and we’ll let the horse tell us.
“He is in everything and has options everywhere. He could go to an Irish Leger (September 10), he could go to an Arc (October 1), he could go to a Breeders’ Cup Turf (November 4). He could even go to Hong Kong and he’s in everything. He’s there to be enjoyed and we will see what Prince Khalid’s family would like to do and see as we go along.
“He’s mentally and physically more mature now and he’s a good traveller. In a race he’s adaptable which is great and we think he’s on an upwards curve.”