Charlie Johnston will train Subjectivist towards the Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup, providing he shows the right signs after his exertions at Royal Ascot.
Having raced keenly, the six-year-old finished a fine third in the Gold Cup on his first British start since winning the race in spectacular fashion two years ago.
Subjectivist was subsequently sidelined for 618 days with a career-threatening leg injury and on his return raced very keenly in a Group Three handicap in Saudi Arabia in February.
He moved on to Meydan in a bid to win a second Dubai Gold Cup and ran a pleasing race to finish third, beaten five lengths behind Broome, before his excellent effort at Ascot, when going down by four and a half lengths to Courage Mon Ami.
“He was a little bit fresh in some ways, because he is not doing any galloping at home because of his injury,” said Johnston.
“Every day is a judgement call as to how the legs feel and how much work he does. He hadn’t really had a real good blow into him at home, so I think that would have contributed to him being a little bit keen at Ascot.
“I thought this was very different to Saudi. He was manageable, whereas in Saudi, he was running away with Joe (Fanning), he wasn’t listening to him at all.
“It’s funny, when he came back in, Joe felt Ralph Beckett’s horse (Lone Eagle) had come to him quite early and got him racing early. As I watched it, coming out of Swinley Bottom, I was urging him just to send him.
“I’m sure Joe knows everything we’re going through at home and he was riding him with that in his mind a little bit.”
The Middleham handler is taking it gently, as not to over-exert Dr Jim Walker’s fragile warrior before deciding whether to race on following the horse’s tendon injury.
“It was a run of immense pride in the horse and the team for having got him there,” added Johnston.
“You couldn’t help but feel a little bit of what could have been. If this horse is able to finish third in an Ascot Gold Cup on three legs, then how many of these would we have won if we hadn’t had the setback we had? It was a good run, for sure.
“The plan is to go to Goodwood. He hasn’t been sat on yet, he’s just been swimming and on the water walker.
“The idea is for him to go back ridden on Tuesday, then trot for a week, then go back cantering the week after. To be honest, it is only at that point we will really find out what scars, if any, this run has left.
“He was sound in the legs post-race, but given his history, you don’t run two and a half miles at that level without some consequence.
“Hopefully he’ll be fine and we will do all we can to get him to Goodwood.”