Gregory poised to carry Wathnan hopes in Goodwood Cup

Ascot Gold Cup hero Courage Mon Ami is likely to bypass the Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup, with stablemate Gregory poised to be owners Wathnan Racing’s chosen representative in the Sussex Downs marathon.

Trained by John and Thady Gosden, both horses carry an unbeaten record and struck gold in the hands of Frankie Dettori for their Qatari-based owners at Royal Ascot last month.

Courage Mon Ami is disputing favouritism with Coltrane for the two-mile Group One during the Qatar Goodwood Festival, but may have to wait for his chance to confirm Ascot form over Andrew Balding’s Gold Cup runner-up, with connections keen to keep the mileage low on the new star of the staying ranks.

Therefore, it is Queen’s Vase hero Gregory who has the chance to fill the void in one of the meeting’s feature events, as he tunes up for a tilt at the St Leger in the autumn.

“They have both come out of Ascot really well, I was in there looking at them last week and I was absolutely delighted with how they look,” said Richard Brown, racing adviser for the owners.

“Gregory is a big horse who is only going to get better with age and we won’t overrace him this year. We will probably only run him twice more. His main aim is the Leger and he may well take in the Goodwood Cup on the way because the three-year-old weight allowance is really significant.

“At the moment we’re training both Courage Mon Ami and Gregory for the race, but only one of them will go. We’re favouring Gregory because of the weight allowance and we want to keep the miles low on Courage Mon Ami.”

With Gregory the envisaged Wathnan Goodwood number one, sights for Courage Mon Ami are already being pointed towards a defence of his Gold Cup crown, with a return to Ascot for the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup (October 21) a possible aim for the back-end of the current campaign.

“Courage Mon Ami is a four-year-old and we have seen in the past that those horses who get to the top of the staying division can go back and win at Ascot again, so his main aim already is next year’s Gold Cup,” added Brown.

“He will probably run twice more this year with obvious back-end targets being Ascot or the Cadran (ParisLongchamp, September 30) and on the way we can go to York (Lonsdale Cup, August 29) or the Doncaster Cup (September 15) if we don’t go to Goodwood.”

The objective is to keep Courage Mon Ami and Gregory apart for as long as possible, but Brown concedes there may come a time when the talented stablemates may have to lock horns.

He continued: “We will be guided John and his team and where they want to go. We will keep them separate because at the end of the day Wathnan have only got nine horses at the moment and running them both in the same Group One is not something we want to do.

“We’re favouring Gregory at the moment for Goodwood, but they are both going to be trained for it in case Gregory couldn’t get there. Then Courage Mon Ami can drop into his spot.

“The St Leger is Gregory’s number one target and then we can worry about what we do next year.

“If we are in the fortunate position that they are both fit, sound, healthy and training well then that is when we might not be able to keep them separate. But at this stage we will try to keep them apart.”

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