Reynier has eyes on Champions Day with gallant Facteur Cheval
Jerome Reynier will target Qipco British Champions Day with Facteur Cheval after finishing best of the rest behind Paddington in the Qatar Sussex Stakes at Goodwood.
The French raider had been kept fresh since finishing a close-up third behind the Owen Burrows-trained Anmaat in the Prix d’Ispahan at the end of May.
Given a patient ride by Maxime Guyon, the 11-1 chance moved into contention with a couple of furlongs to run and briefly looked like giving red-hot favourite Paddington a real run for his money.
In the end Aidan O’Brien’s superstar colt found more to extend his unbeaten record this season to six, but Reynier was understandably thrilled with his four-year-old’s performance in defeat.
He said: “It’s like a victory today. We really thought he was going to beat Paddington, but he had the stands rail and we were in the middle of the track and he was stuck in the middle of traffic.
“He ran a great race, he was third in a Group One the other day and second today in a very nice Group One and I hope the next time we will be able to win at that level.
“With five runners it was best to wait at the back for a late challenge. We were the fourth favourite out of five runners, so we thought if he can just beat one or two home, we would be happy, but we never thought he was going to be able to run that way.
“He keeps improving mentally and physically, so probably the best is yet to come.”
Reynier has gone close on Champions Day before, with Skalleti filling the runner-up spot behind Addeybb in the Champion Stakes three years ago.
Facteur Cheval is also be Ascot bound, with the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes a logical target.
“Fingers crossed he will be coming back in good shape and we can aim for the Queen Elizabeth at the end of the year with him,” the trainer added.
Roger Varian was pleased with the performance of third home Charyn, who was placed again behind Paddington having run well behind him in both the Irish 2,000 Guineas and the St James’s Palace Stakes.
“He ran well and he prefers better ground. He travelled into it well,” said the Newmarket handler.
“He ran very well at Royal Ascot to be third in the St James’s Palace, nearly second, and he ran very well in the Irish Guineas (finished fourth), so he’s knocking on the door at this top level.
“He doesn’t like this ground really, he wants better ground.”
The disappointment of the race was John and Thady Gosden’s three-time Group One winner Inspiral.
Frankie Dettori made an early move in the straight in an effort to beat Paddington to the stands rail, but his mount soon came under pressure and weakened to finish last of five.
Dettori said: “We tried, but it was very obvious that she doesn’t cope with this kind of ground.
“If the ground dries up and she comes out of this race, we can back her up in the race she won in France last year (Prix Jacques le Marois).
“It was obvious what was going to happen – Paddington got a lead and everything his own way, so I grabbed the fence as I had to make a race of it.”
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