Connections were left frustrated following Marshman’s appearance in York’s 1895 Duke of York Clipper Stakes last week and will now make a late decision on whether he will line up in the King’s Stand Stakes or Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot.
The Karl Burke-trained three-year-old had finished second in the Gimcrack on his previous visit to the Knavesmire and headed into the Group Two contest having won three of his five career outings following a comeback win at Chantilly in the Group Three Prix Sigy.
However, a tardy start meant Clifford Lee was unable to get the son of Harry Angel to challenge in the ideal spot from his draw of stall two and although travelling with some menace out wide on the flank, his pursuit of glory petered out in the closing stages to be beaten three lengths in fifth.
“Everything kind of went wrong,” said Nick Bradley, managing director of owners Nick Bradley Racing.
“I haven’t watched it many times because when you don’t enjoy what you see, you don’t tend to go back and watch it that much.
“He bunny hopped at the start and lost one or two lengths. Cliff wasn’t able to come down the centre of the track because he had horses on his right and ended up definitely challenging on the wrong side of the track.
“He came there and loomed up at the two pole, as did the winner and Highfield Princess, but he just didn’t see it out. I’m putting that down to him losing a few lengths at the start and having to challenge on the worst part of the track.
“I think if he was drawn 10 and bunny hopped the start, he’s definitely in the first three – where I don’t know. If he’s drawn 10 and doesn’t bunny hop the start, I think he could have been in the first two.”
Having travelled powerfully it is easy to envisage Marshman dropping back to the stiff five furlongs of the King’s Stand at the Royal meeting, but Bradley is keen to bide his time and see how the fields are shaping up before making a decision.
“It’s very easy to say that because of the way he ran, but there are legitimate excuses,” said Bradley of the prospect of running over five furlongs. “You are walking away from York frustrated because a big day hasn’t gone your way.
“We’re not going to make any quick decisions. We will watch the Sandy Lane this weekend and see how the races pan out and see nearer the time.
“I think I would rather run him over five than six at Ascot, but we will see how the races look like.”