Simple Verse (crimson jacket) narrowly win the St Leger
PICTURE: Martin Lynch (racingpost.com/photos)
By Tony McFadden 3:49PM 10 OCT 2016
CONNECTIONS of Simple Verse are leaning towards a crack at the Qipco Long Distance Cup on British Champions Day, rather than tasking the filly with a defence of her Fillies & Mares crown.
Simple Verse, who was famously first past the post in the 2015 St Leger, but lost it in the stewards’ room before getting it back on appeal, was an impressive winner of the Park Hill Stakes at Doncaster last time, when she overcame significant trouble in running to register a first success of the season.
Simple Verse powered home at the end of the Park Hill, run over 1m6½f, and connections feel she may be even more effective granted a stiffer test.
Trainer Ralph Beckett said: “I felt she showed all her old fire at Doncaster last time.
“We won’t decide until declaration time on Thursday, but at the moment we’re leaning towards the Long Distance Cup over the Fillies & Mares because I feel her optimum trip is further than a mile and a half. She gets a weight allowance and stays so well.”
David Redvers, racing manager to owners Qatar Racing, said: “We’ve still got both options. Sheikh Fahad, Ralph and I will sit down and make a firm decision in the next couple of days.
“The O’Brien horse [Order Of St George] being in the stayers’ race makes it more difficult for us, but there’s no such thing as an easy race on Champions Day.
“She’s well and we know she’s back to her best, and I think we’ll see the best of her over two miles. If the two-mile race was a Group 1, as it should be now, then we’d be going there, I’d imagine.”
Simple Verse is one of 14 confirmations for the Long Distance Cup, in which she could clash with 2014 winner Forgotten Rules, and Gold Cup hero Order Of St George, who ran a stormer to finish third in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe last time.
There were 18 confirmations for the Fillies & Mares, in which Aidan O’Brien has left in star fillies Found, Minding and Seventh Heaven. The betting suggests that Seventh Heaven is by far the most plausible runner from that trio, and the impressive Yorkshire Oaks winner is the 11-4 market leader.
Irish 1,000 Guineas winner Jet Setting has been supplemented at the cost of £70,000 for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, in which there are 15 horses in contention at the five-day confirmation stage.
Jet Setting could renew rivalry with six-time Group 1 winner Minding, who was narrowly denied by Adrian Keatley’s stable star at the Curragh.
Ribchester, Alice Springs and 2,000 Guineas winner Galileo Gold could also feature, but Belardo, who was the leading hope among the older horses, has been retired after meeting with a setback.
Final declarations take place on Thursday morning.