Reynier favouring direct Ascot route for Facteur Cheval

Jerome Reynier is likely to head straight to Qipco British Champions Day with Sussex Stakes runner-up Facteur Cheval.

The four-year-old has been highly consistent in Group events all season, placing third and second in the Prix Edmond Blanc and the Prix du Muguet respectively before going down by just a head in the Group One Prix d’Ispahan.

He then headed to Goodwood to take on Aidan O’Brien’s Paddington in the Sussex Stakes and gave him a run for his money on soft ground, looming up in the final furlongs to finish second when conceding 7lb to the winner.

A run on quicker ground in the Prix du Moulin at ParisLongchamp then resulted in a third-placed finish and although the bay holds an entry for the Prix Daniel Wildenstein, Reynier could favour a direct route to Ascot.

The Queen Elizabeth II Stakes has been his long-term target and is likely to be run on the softer going he prefers as the meeting is held in late October.

Reynier said of the colt: “He’s in good shape and I’m very happy with the way he came back after the weekend.

“He is entered on the Arc weekend in the Group Two over a mile but it’s a little close to the QEII, which is his target.

“We will see depending on the ground and the opposition, but I think he will go straight to Ascot to make sure he is fresh enough to compete at the highest level.

“If he can handle the straight course and we can find some soft ground next month, that could be a very interesting race for him.

“He won his only Group race at Saint-Cloud on very heavy ground so it is definitely more ground suitable for him, that’s why we want to keep him fresh and try to get him the best we can.”

Reflecting on Facteur Cheval’s season so far, Reynier added: “He’s just had a lack of luck to win a race, he race a terrific race in the Muguet, finishing a really eyecatching second.

“In the Ispahan he was really closely beaten and he was carrying so much more weight than Paddington in the Sussex but he did it well.

“The other day the ground was a bit firm but he ran good race against the three-year-olds with the weight advantage as well.”

A run in the QEII could turn into a rematch with Paddington, who is entered in the contest but also has his name down for the Champion Stakes over 10 furlongs – a trip Facteur Cheval himself could take on next season.

Reynier said: “We will probably have to compete against Paddington once again, or maybe he will be aiming for the Champion Stakes.

“If it’s bottomless they may aim for a shorter distance in the QEII, but we don’t want to stretch Facteur Cheval out in distance for now.

“Maybe next year, with more maturity, he will be able to do a mile and a quarter and that will open up some opportunities for him.”

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