Ascot the ultimate goal for Facteur Cheval

Jerome Reynier has the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on Qipco British Champions Day in mind for Facteur Cheval after his honourable second to Paddington at Goodwood.

The four-year-old was been incredibly consistent in France all year, placing in a string of Group races when never far behind the winner.

In late May he was third in the Prix d’Ispahan at ParisLongchamp, coming home just a head behind Owen Burrows’ Anmaat in the nine-furlong Group One.

His next destination was the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood, another Group One for which he was a 11-1 shot under Maxime Guyon.

Aidan O’Brien’s Paddington dominated the market and was ultimately the winner, but Reynier’s runner gave the 4-9 favourite a real run for his money despite encountering some traffic problems two furlongs from home.

Facteur Cheval now has a return to British shores pencilled into his diary, with another run on home turf beforehand likely, as Reynier considers the Prix du Moulin over the Prix Daniel Wildenstein to allow for the ideal Ascot preparation.

“We’re very happy with him, he has been recovering from the run and the journey and he is in very good shape,” the trainer said.

“We are going to aim for the QEII at the end of the year and maybe have another run in between in something like the Moulin.

“We will see, depending on the ground, the opposition and how he feels.

“He could race there in September, but we are aiming for the QEII which is on October 21. I don’t really want to try the Prix Daniel Wildenstein on the Arc weekend on the September 30 and then three weeks later send him to Ascot – that’s maybe a little bit too much to ask of him.”

Reynier hopes the horse will continue to take strides forward and could prove to be as reliable a campaigner as his evergreen stablemate Skalleti.

“He ran very well, he is improving mentally and physically and should be a very nice horse for the QEII and next year he should be a proper international campaigner,” he said.

“He handles everything but we are trying to manage him and the softer it is, the better it is for him.

“We’ve done it with Skalleti and there are many points of comparison with them, hopefully with Facteur Cheval we’ll end up with 12 Group wins like Skalleti has already!”

Skalleti is a stalwart of the Reynier stable and a remarkably consistent performer over a mile to 10 furlongs, winning 20 of his 31 starts with over half of his successes coming in Group company – including twice at the top level.

He is another horse who appreciates cut in the ground and he will be aimed at the Prix Dollar, a Group Two run on Arc weekend that he has won twice previously.

“It’s a question of the weather and the ground,” Reynier said.

“He’ll probably be aiming for the Prix Dollar on Arc weekend, he’s won the race twice.

“He loves Longchamp and the ground is very often soft there on Arc weekend, so that’s probably the plan with him.”

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