Big Rock on course for QEII date at Ascot

Christopher Head’s Big Rock will head to British shores for the first time to contest the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on Champions Day at Ascot.

The colt racked up a four-race winning streak earlier in the year that carried him from an all-weather handicap to victory in the Group Three Prix de Guiche.

That run then paved the way to the Group One Prix du Jockey Club, where he was beaten three and half lengths behind the well-fancied Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe contender Ace Impact.

Two more second-placed runs followed as Big Rock dropped back to a mile, finishing behind Inspiral in the Prix Jacques le Marois and Sauterne in the Prix du Moulin.

Now Big Rock could make his first start outside of France in the Group One QEII on October 21.

“He’s doing fine, he came out of the Prix du Moulin very well and he’s aiming for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes,” Head said.

“He has done some very nice work and everything’s all right, he’s a horse that has needed a bit of time between races and I’m very happy to have had that kind of break between the Moulin at Longchamp and the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

“We have him back fresh and everything, so I think he will be more than interesting for his next race.

“Heavy ground is not a problem, whatever the ground does, it is not a problem for him.”

One horse from the Head stable that will not be seen again this term is Ramatuelle, a two-year-old filly by Justify who has enjoyed a highly successful juvenile campaign.

The chestnut has won three of her five runs this season and was the runner-up both times when beaten, with her successes including the Group Three Prix du Bois and the Group Two Prix Robert Papin.

Most recently she was defeated in the Prix Morny, a Group One in which she went down by just a short neck to the highly-regarded Vandeek.

That run was the last of the year for Ramatuelle, who will return for her three-year-old campaign in 2024.

“The owners have decided that she has had a very nice two-year-old season and they want to have a 100 per cent chance with her at three,” Head explained.

“They have decided not to run her again this season, she will be back next year in spring.”

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