Mullins sets sights on Ascot Gold for Princess Zoe
A trip to Saudi Arabia and a tilt at Gold Cup glory at Royal Ascot are among the potential targets for Princess Zoe next season after her winning run came to an end in France on Sunday.
The Tony Mullins-trained mare has enjoyed a meteoric rise since being bought from Germany this year, progressing from a mark of 64 when second on her Irish debut at Navan in June to claim top-level honours in the Prix du Cadran on Arc weekend earlier this month.
The five-year-old was bidding for a sixth successive win on her return to Paris for the Prix Royal-Oak – and while she came up a little short, she was far from disgraced in finishing fourth behind the Mark Johnston-trained Subjectivist.
Mullins said: “She pulled out fine this morning and is in transit as we speak. The people looking after her said she looked a bit tired, which I can believe.
“The way she ran tells me that we’re going to have some action again next year. You might have been worried what she did in the Cadran was a flash in the pan, but she showed me yesterday that she’s a serious trier and we’ll be at the top table again next summer.
“There’s no doubt the 22-day turnaround was just a step too far. I thought she performed admirably under the circumstances.”
With a jumping career now ruled out, Mullins is excited to see what his stable star can achieve on the Flat in 2021, with the staying race on the Saudi Cup undercard at Riyadh a possible first port of call.
He added: “She’ll have a holiday now. There is a chance that we could go to Saudi Arabia in February – if we were sure the ground wasn’t going to be firm, that could come onto the table.
“I’d say the Ascot Gold Cup will be a target. I don’t see us having a busy summer, because I want to leave enough petrol there for the likes of the Prix du Cadran and the race yesterday again.
“It’s very early to be making definite plans, but my talk of going for the Arc might be gone off the table for the moment – we’re looking at stamina races.”