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Punchestown News

Punchestown News: Dilemma for Gleneagles team with Ascot good to soft

Posted: 12th Oct 2015

GLENEAGLES with R Moore wins

Gleneagles: has not run since winning at Royal Ascot in June

  PICTURE: Martin Lynch (racingpost.com/photos)  

Ascot set for good to soft
Champions Day ground

AIDAN O'BRIEN looks set to face another tricky call over whether to run Gleneagles this weekend after it was predicted on Sunday that ground conditions at Ascot on Qipco British Champions Day will be "mainly good to soft".

A sustained spell without rain has raised the possibility of the 2,000 Guineas winner running at Britain's richest raceday, a fixture already promised appearances by Solow, Jack Hobbs and Muhaarar.

Money continued to come for Gleneagles in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, for which he was cut to 7-4 from 3-1 by Coral, who eased Solow to 11-8 favourite from 10-11.

Gleneagles, also entered in the Champion Stakes, has not run since recording his third victory of the year in the St James's Palace Stakes in June, having been pulled out of the Sussex Stakes, Prix Jacques le Marois, Juddmonte International and Irish Champion Stakes because conditions have not met the fast-ground-loving colt's requirements. Ryan Moore has been on board for all three successes.

Limited drying

The going at Ascot was good to soft on the straight and soft, good to soft in places on the round course on Sunday, and despite a virtually dry week forecast the track is unlikely to dry out significantly, according to clerk of the course Chris Stickels.

"I'd expect the ground to be mainly good to soft," he said. "We may have a good piece of ground on the straight course but, given a dry week, it will be mainly good to soft.

"We had ten dry days before the last meeting but the ground was only good and then we had 25mm - an inch of rain - on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday last week immediately after that. That turned it back soft again.

"It doesn't dry significantly at this time of year. A decent easterly breeze will help but there are heavy dews, so it's soaking through."

The ground was good to yielding when Gleneagles won the Irish 2,000 Guineas, but otherwise he has run only when the ground has been good or quicker.

Breeders' Cup aim

He is due to work at Ballydoyle in the next few days before connections turn their attention to deciding whether to run on Saturday.

Speaking at the Curragh on Sunday, O'Brien said: "We'll work Gleneagles in the middle of the week and see how things go. When he's done that we'll take the ground situation into consideration and make a decision.

"Whether he runs or doesn't at Ascot, the Breeders' Cup Classic remains the end-of-season target for Gleneagles. He could run in both races - we'll wait and see."

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