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Race tactics a big Facteur to Cheval’s Ascot defeat

Race tactics a big Facteur to Cheval’s Ascot defeat Jun 26, 2024

Trainer Jerome Reynier insists Facteur Cheval’s “nightmare” outing at Royal Ascot should be forgiven as he readies the Dubai Turf winner for a second tilt at the Sussex Stakes in August.

The five-year-old found only Paddington too strong at Goodwood last year and following further placed efforts in Group One company in the Prix du Moulin and the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on Champions Day, he broke his top-level duck with a surprise victory on World Cup night at Meydan in March.

Facteur Cheval was considered a major contender for the curtain-raising Queen Anne Stakes, but after tracking his pacesetting compatriot Big Rock for much of the way, he was left out on his own when the race began in earnest and passed the post a well-beaten sixth.

“The tactics of following Big Rock (did not work) as at the three-furlong pole he had to make his effort on his own, which was impossible,” said Reynier.

“He needs someone (another horse) to rely on and he was just on his own. He’s a fighter and when he won the Dubai Turf he came between horses and when Namur came on his outside he kept battling hard. He also lost a shoe, I think quite early in the race (at Ascot), so it was just a disaster and a nightmare.

“The plan is to go back to Goodwood because he ran so well there last year. Obviously the ground was very heavy and I think he is better with a bit of cut in the ground.”