A trip to France for the Prix du Cadran is next on the agenda for Courage Mon Ami after coming off second best in his latest clash with Coltrane at York last week.
John and Thady Gosden’s son of Frankel raised the roof at Royal Ascot when providing jockey Frankie Dettori with his ninth victory in the Gold Cup, narrowly outpointing the Andrew Balding-trained Coltrane.
Courage Mon Ami lost his unbeaten record when only sixth in the Goodwood Cup, a race in which Coltrane finished third, and the trilogy took place in the Lonsdale Cup on the Knavesmire on Friday.
With the Gosden runner carrying a 3lb penalty for his Gold Cup win, he was beaten a length and a half by his old rival and connections are now eyeing one final outing this season on Arc weekend in Paris.
“I thought he probably ran right up to form, as John said afterwards carrying the 3lb penalty is tough over that trip,” said Richard Brown, racing adviser to owners Wathnan Racing.
“We were delighted with the run because it sort of showed that Ascot wasn’t a fluke. We hoped it wasn’t and Coltrane is a very good horse on his day – they’re the best stayers around really.
“Our horse was strong at the line, we know he gets two and a half miles obviously and I’d say that the Cadran will be his next target.
“Qatar sponsors the Arc meeting, so it’s important for those reasons as well, but that aside, the Cadran looks the obvious race for him and that’s exactly what Frankie said afterwards.”
Brown admitted the prospect of soft ground at ParisLongchamp is a slight concern, adding: “I would be a bit worried about a bit of soft ground. You never know really until you try it, I think he’ll be OK but you never know.
“After the Cadran that will be it for him this year as everything is geared around trying to win a second Gold Cup.”
Courage Mon Ami was one of four horses to perform well in defeat at the Ebor Festival for the Qatari ownership group, with leading St Leger hope Gregory third in the Great Voltigeur, Ballymount Boy second in the Acomb and Isaac Shelby fourth in the City of York Stakes.
Brown admits the team left the track with mixed emotions.
He said: “Of course you want to win, that’s what it’s all about, but we had two seconds, a third and a fourth and if one of those had turned into a win, it would have been a hell of a week.
“We came away a little frustrated, but at the same time they’ve all run to a very high level.”
Ballymount Boy was snapped up by Wathnan Racing after finishing second to subsequent Prix Morny hero Vandeek in the Richmond Stakes at Goodwood – and while he again had to make do with the runner-up spot at York behind Indian Run, Brown is optimistic he will have his day in the future.
He said: “He ran well, possibly he’d prefer soft ground and also he was a breeze-up horse who has had some quick runs, so we’ll give him a break now.
“I was actually delighted. He obviously bumped into one at Goodwood and I’d say there’s a fair chance he’s just bumped into another good one at York.
“We’re going to give him a bit of a rest and give him just one more run this year, I would say.
“He’s shown he’s a Group level colt and I think he’ll only be better next year as well as he’s still relatively unfurnished.”
Brian Meehan’s Isaac Shelby faced his elders on the fourth and final day of the meeting and while far from disgraced behind Kinross, who he had pushed to a neck in the Lennox Stakes at Goodwood at the start of the month, Brown feels he slightly underperformed.
“It’s the quickest we’ve run him back and I wonder if he was a touch flat,” he added.
“Kinross is a brilliant horse and we were a bit further behind him than we were at Goodwood, which I suppose makes you think he was just a touch flat.
“We haven’t made any plans for him. Myself, Brian and Olly Tait will sit down and do that in a couple of weeks, but I’d imagine we’ll give him a six-week break now and give him one more run somewhere.
“He’s learning to settle as he gets older. He’s a tall, narrow horse and I think he’s going to be a better four-year-old.”