Speed king Shaquille remains in Champions Sprint mix

One final foray on home soil this season remains a possibility for Shaquille with connections leaving the door open for a tilt at the Qipco British Champions Sprint at Ascot next month.

Julie Camacho’s three-year-old was brilliant in winning his first four starts of the season, including back-to-back Group One victories in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot and Newmarket’s July Cup.

He was a hot favourite to make it a top-level hat-trick in the Sprint Cup at Haydock on his latest outing, but while there was no repeat of the slow starts he suffered in his previous two races, he faded out of contention after making the running to finish last of 16 runners.

While no immediate excuse came to light, aside from poor stable form, Camacho’s husband and assistant Steve Brown reports the three-year-old to be in good shape after returning to work and a Champions Day appearance remains on the table.

“I wouldn’t say there’s been anything obvious, there’s been one or two small things we’re still investigating but at home he seems well in himself,” he said.

“We were only ever going to Ascot anyway after Haydock, certainly domestically. He’s just returned to cantering and we’ll see how he is in the next fortnight.

“I hope we can (get to Ascot), I think that’s what Martin (Hughes, part-owner) would like, but it’s one we’ll have to sit down with Martin about and just see how the horse is nearer the time.”

The Camacho team managed only one winner from 43 runners in August and September so far has yielded a solitary success.

However, there were shoots of recovery last weekend, with Significantly beaten a short head in the valuable Portland Handicap at Doncaster, while Raatea and Winged Messenger were also placed, on Town Moor and at Chester respectively.

Brown, who confirmed Significantly could make a quick reappearance in the Ayr Gold Cup on Saturday, added: “They seem to be turning a corner slowly.

“It’s been a frustrating time, but we’ve seen it before and unfortunately we’ll see it again. It’s the nature of the game we’re in, so we’re quite calm about it.

“On the whole last weekend we were quite happy with how they ran, one or two got stuck in the ground but we felt that was more of a reason than anything else.

“We’ve taken all the advice we’ve been given and hopefully the flood will come!”

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