France: Full Mast to bypass Poule d’Essai des Poulains


Full Mast (pink cap): could race at Royal Ascot this season

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (  

THERE will be no French Classic next Sunday for Full Mast, the horse who finished in a sandwich between 2,000 Guineas 1-2 Gleneagles and Territories in last October’s Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at Longchamp.

Khalid Abdullah’s unbeaten son of Mizzen Mast missed his intended rematch with Territories in the Prix de Fontainebleau after sustaining a knock, and trainer Criquette Head-Maarek has given him time to recover from that minor setback.

Full Mast was awarded the Lagardere after Gleneagles drifted towards the rail on Arc day and Head-Maarek was thrilled to see the form fully franked in the Guineas.

“It was beautiful to see the race boosted at Newmarket because of course we were in the middle of it,” said Head-Maarek at Longchamp on Sunday.

“He’ll miss the Poule d’Essai des Poulains because it comes too quickly. Physically, he’s beautiful and he was never really stopped as such. We slowed down but we never really stopped and now he is cantering.”

Head-Maarek has yet to finalise a programme for Full Mast with Abdullah and, although the two Group races at Chantilly won by Charm Spirit last summer are the most likely short-term targets, a supplementary entry for the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot could yet come into the reckoning.

Head-Maarek said: “He’ll be aimed at the Prix Jean Prat and he might take in the Prix Paul de Moussac before. I haven’t spoken to the prince yet and of course every option is open so, if he progresses well, why not Royal Ascot?”

Speaking at Newmarket, racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe stressed Full Mast will not be rushed into a rematch with Gleneagles.

He said: “We don’t have to hurry. We have the luxury of having a good clean run and if he comes on well enough he will go for the St James’s Palace, but I would think a more realistic target would be something like the Prix Jean Prat in June. If he has a really good month and we could get a race into him at the end of May then Ascot would come into the reckoning.”


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