Deer eyeing Abbaye hat-trick with Saint Lawrence

Owner John Deer has revealed his desire to try to win the Prix de l’Abbaye for a third time following Saint Lawrence’s Royal Ascot triumph.

Although a regular in some of the best sprinting contests over the past few seasons, the son of Al Kazeem was scoring for the first time since landing the Denford Stakes during his two-year-old days when storming to Wokingham glory – the last leg of a treble for Archie Watson and Hollie Doyle at the big meeting.

It was also Saint Lawrence’s first run for Lambourn-based Watson and having credited former handler Roger Varian for his input regarding the five-year-old’s switch from Newmarket, Deer – who enjoyed Prince of Wales’s Stakes glory with Al Kazeem – is keen to leave future plans to Watson.

“To have won twice there is quite fantastic really,” said Deer of his latest trip to the Royal Ascot winner’s enclosure.

“Roger Varian was very good and without any prompting suggested that perhaps a change of scenery might benefit the horse. Who knows, but there was a hell of an improvement. That improvement may have come with Roger in Newmarket, no one will ever know, but from my point of view it was sensational really.

“There has been such a change now in his performance that I’m just going to leave it (running plans) to his trainer and hope for the best!”

It was somewhat appropriate that Saint Lawrence should win the Wokingham for Deer, with the owner-breeder having seen his Averti withdrawn at the start when fancied for the race in 1996 and like the William Muir-trained sprinter, Deer hopes Saint Lawrence will one-day carry his colours at ParisLongchamp on Arc day.

He explained: “Many many years ago I had a very good horse called Averti with William Muir and he was supposed to be favourite for the Wokingham.

“He had been in the stalls for a long time and the horse that came in next to him played up and Averti got frightened or something and he was pulled out and didn’t run. That was a pity because he was a lovely horse and deserved a big race like that.

“He went on to be second in the Abbaye (in 1998) and then subsequently Patavellian (2003) and Avonbridge (2005) went on to win that race, so I think I have got close to breeding three of them.

“I would love to win the Abbaye again and he would be a candidate. Whether he goes this year I don’t know, but if he didn’t I would want him to go next year.”

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