By Simon Jackson.
Sir Michael Stoute has confirmed that Integral is an intended runner in the £1million Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on British Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday.
The four-year-old has been in superb form this season; winning a brace of Group 1s and a Group 2 and has yet to finish out of the first three in five starts this campaign.
Integral was last seen when winning the Kingdom of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket nine days ago and is reported to be in good order for Saturday’s one mile contest where she is best-priced at 8-1 in the field headed by Night Of Thunder (11-4).
“At the moment it looks like she’ll be going for the QEII,” Stoute said.
“She appeared to take the race very well after winning the Sun Chariot last time, both in terms of weight loss and demeanour – but Group 1 races do leave their scars, so we will know on Saturday if 14 days has been enough.
“It looks a good race. Freddy Head’s horse, Charm Spirit, won the Moulin last time out. Night Of Thunder ran very well in that race too – he might have been a bit unlucky to finish third and will go on the likely soft ground.
“But the Sun Chariot was only Integral’s fifth race of the season, and we have nothing to lose.
“The plan at the moment is that she will stay in training next year. Her dam, Echelon, was better at five.”
Freddy Head was similarly upbeat about Charm Spirit’s chances at Ascot where the ground is now heavy.
“Charm Spirit is very well,” he said. “I think that he will like Ascot and think that the QEII will be a great race for him.
“He has improved a lot since he last came to England [for the QIPCO 2000 Guineas]. The ground at Ascot will not bother him – he will go on anything.”
In other news ahead of Champions Day, Stoute gave an upbeat report about The Queen’s racehorse Estimate who contests the QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup.
“I’m very happy with Estimate,” Stoute said. “She loves Ascot, but she will have to take on Aidan [O’Brien’s] Gold Cup winner, Leading Light – and he is a very good stayer, no doubt about that. He’ll be hard to beat, but we think we’re in very good shape.”
Read ‘Horse Talk with Simon Jackson’ at London24 for the latest horse racing news.