William Haggas worked his Qipco Champion Stakes contenders My Prospero and Dubai Honour prior to racing at Newmarket on Friday, although the latter is not yet certain to line up at Ascot on Saturday week.
My Prospero was beaten half a length into third place on British Champions Day last season and will head back to Berkshire off the back of a confidence-boosting Listed success at Goodwood last month.
Dubai Honour, sixth in last year’s Champion Stakes and second in 2021, won successive Group One prizes in Australia earlier this term, but has not been seen in competitive action since finishing last of four in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown in early July.
With Tom Marquand aboard, the five-year-old finished just ahead the Michael Hills-ridden My Prospero in their Rowley Mile gallop and Haggas expressed his satisfaction with both horses – but plans for Dubai Honour remain up in the air.
“I was pleased with that. Dubai Honour may go for the Premio Roma (October 29), we’ll see how he comes out of this. My Prospero will go to Ascot,” he said.
“Dubai Honour is a nice horse, he’s just taken a bit of time to come to himself. It was always the plan to give him a break after the Eclipse – he was in the field the day after.
“He needed that today and it’s only eight days until Ascot, which is not very long. I haven’t got much time to give him another (piece of work) and I’m not going to give him another.
“We’ll see how he comes out of this. The timing is very good for the Premio Roma, but the Champion Stakes is the Champion Stakes.
“Australia is very much the plan for him again next year, all being well.”
The Newmarket handler raised the possibility of My Prospero being fitted with headgear next weekend, adding: “He needs racing and we might put something on him, maybe a tongue-tie or a pair of blinkers – I don’t think he’s giving us everything.
“We’ve found him quite frustrating, but he’s a really good horse and we just need to do something to find that half a length or so.”
Haggas confirmed Sense Of Duty will be part of his Champions Day squad, with the daughter of Showcasing expected to strip fitter for her recent comeback run at Newbury ahead of the Qipco British Champions Sprint.
Following her Group One breakthrough in the Prix de Royallieu at ParisLongchamp on Arc weekend, Sea Silk Road could contest the Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes, provided conditions are not deemed too testing.