Dante winner The Foxes could drop down in trip

The Foxes will return to Europe for his next outing following his narrow defeat in the Belmont Derby.

Andrew Balding’s colt won the Dante before finishing fifth in the Derby at Epsom and was dropping back to 10 furlongs when making his first visit Stateside earlier this month.

He performed with real credit when sent off favourite for the Grade One contest, going down by a length in the hands of Oisin Murphy behind Todd Pletcher’s Far Bridge.

Being slowly away from a wide draw took its toll on the son of Churchill at the business end, compromising his chances of scooping the £343,750 first-prize, but connections were thrilled with his performance and now have their eyes on further big-race assignments closer to home.

He has returned to Balding’s Kingsclere base in rude health and could now be set for a return to the scene of his Dante triumph in York’s Juddmonte International Stakes on August 23 or a drop further back in trip to a mile for the Prix Jacques Le Marois at Deauville (August 13) depending on conditions.

“I think if he had missed the break from a good draw he would have still won, but I think a combination of the bad draw and missing the break just got him beat,” explained Alastair Donald, racing manager for owners King Power.

“He ran huge and it’s another step in the right direction for him, I think.”

Donald went on: “He’s back in England and he will next run in either the Juddmonte or the Jacques Le Marois. He definitely has the speed to go back to a mile and he was the last off the bridle in the Craven.

“Obviously it is stallion enhancing winning over a mile and we will probably be determined by the weather where we will run. If it was soft ground in France we wouldn’t go there and if it was soft at York we would give that a miss, so we’re just keeping our options open between those two races.”

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