Shaquille team anticipating late call on July Cup jockey

A decision on who rides Pertemps Network July Cup favourite Shaquille is unlikely to be made until minutes before declaration time on Thursday morning.

With former champion jockey Oisin Murphy, who partnered him to a remarkable success in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot, suspended, James Doyle, who rode him to win his two previous races, had been next in the frame.

However, Doyle is required at Ascot by his principal employer Godolphin so a rider has yet to be confirmed, but it will come as no surprise that trainer Julie Camacho and her husband and assistant Steve Brown have been inundated with offers.

“There has been lots of interest from people interested in riding him,” said Brown.

“We are obviously waiting to see who is available. Oisin (Murphy) wasn’t booked until 9.50am on Thursday when he won on him at Royal Ascot and Martin (Hughes, co-owner and breeder) is quite relaxed about waiting until Thursday morning and seeing who is available.”

One man who may be free is Ryan Moore, with the participation of his intended mount Little Big Bear described as only 50-50 by Aidan O’Brien on Monday.

“Martin used to have horses based in the south in the past and has dealt with a lot of jockeys, so he said we’ll have a conversation on Thursday morning after we have seen who has been declared,” said Brown.

“James is going to Ascot to ride for Godolphin, we do know that, which is a shame for us because it made things incredibly easy.

“It has always been a bit of a topic of conversation with this horse as he has run seven times and had four different jockeys, but the guys have managed superbly well and hopefully it will be the same on Saturday.”

When it was put to Brown that Moore may be available, he said: “It’s a possibility isn’t it, but we need to let their situation finalise before that discussion can take place. We’re aware that may be a possibility.”

Shaquille’s remarkable win at Ascot, when he gave away at least five lengths by fly-jumping out of the stalls, was a first Group One success for Camacho and Brown and they have been surprised by the level of goodwill which has come their way since.

Brown said: “It’s a great feeling. Jules was saying yesterday when we were coming down to Newmarket how many good wishes we’ve had since Royal Ascot and how pleased people are for us, as we are small to medium-sized training operation. People have been so kind and that’s been such a nice surprise.

“We are looking forward to Saturday. It will be a different sort of pressure as it looks like we are going to start favourite, whereas at Ascot Little Big Bear was a short-priced favourite and we went there slightly under the radar.

“So it’s different from that perspective, but you’ve got to deal with it and what a lovely position to be and what a great position to be in – to have a favourite for a Group One race.”

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