Courage Mon Ami has the Prix du Cadran on his long-range radar after connections admitted they failed to learn anything new from the Ascot Gold Cup winner when he suffered his first defeat at Goodwood on Tuesday.
Run on unseasonably good to soft ground, Quickthorn turned the Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup into something of a procession, with Hughie Morrison’s charge routing his 10 opponents by six lengths and upwards.
The John and Thady Gosden-trained Courage Mon Ami, having just his fifth lifetime start, was sent off the 2-1 favourite to back up his Royal Ascot victory, but having taken a keen hold, did not get a clear run. His jockey, Frankie Dettori, realised he had no chance once the winner quickened clear.
Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani owns the gelding under his Wathnan Racing operation and Richard Brown of Blandford Bloodstock buys the horses on his behalf.
He was responsible for the purchase of Courage Mon Ami from Anthony Oppenheimer after the son of Frankel had won twice on the all-weather as a three-year-old, before opening his four-year-old campaign with a Goodwood handicap success.
Brown was left non-plussed by his latest display, however, and said: “He has come out of the race well, but it was a bit of a non-event, to be honest. It was a frustrating race to watch. We have just got to put a line through it.
“Frankie was very easy on him early when he knew his chance had gone.”
Courage Mon Ami is likely to take on Quickthorn again in the Prix du Cadran over an extended two miles at ParisLongchamp in October.
Connections hope to find out a little more about the inexperienced gelding in the meantime.
“He’s come out of it fine and the obvious end-of-season target would be the Cadran,” said Brown.
“We’ve got to decide what we do before then, but it was frustrating to be part of. We saw at Ascot what he is capable of.
“The problem is we didn’t learn anything. We didn’t learn anything about ground. Frankie said he went fine on it.
“Obviously, he has only run four times before then, including twice on the all-weather, and we are still learning about the horse.
“He is probably going to be better on top of the ground, and I’m hoping he’s going to be ground versatile.
“He already owes us nothing, but I very much hope there is a lot more to come from him.”
The unbeaten Gregory is on course for the Sky Bet Great Voltigeur Stakes at York later this month, after looking like he would represent the Wathnan team in the Goodwood Cup, only for the ground to change running plans.
The Golden Horn colt has won all three starts for the Gosdens this year, culminating in an emphatic Queen’s Vase win at the Royal meeting.
“All roads lead to the St Leger,” Brown added. “Although we are not committing to anything, John is quite keen to run him again before Doncaster, so the Voltigeur is quite an obvious race that we might take in along the way.”
The Ralph Beckett-trained Remarquee, who finished runner-up in both the top-class Coronation Stakes and the Falmouth, will be given a break after her latest fourth-placed effort in the Prix Rothschild at Deauville.
Winner of the Fred Darling at Newbury on her seasonal bow, she has proved herself as one of the leading milers without yet winning over that distance.
She will likely have another opportunity to do that at Newmarket on October 7, bypassing an engagement in the Matron Stakes at Leopardstown next month.
Brown said: “Remarquee came out of her race in good shape. She has had three quick runs, so we have put a line through the Matron and are going to give her a little bit of a rest.
“She might have one more run, which is likely to be the Sun Chariot.”