Royal Ascot fourth Blue Cup is on target for the Sky Bet Ebor at York next week, with trainer David Menuisier happy to take a “punt” at stepping up in distance.
The five-year-old put up a career-best in the Wolferton Stakes and will try a trip beyond a mile and quarter for the first time in the £500,000 feature on the Knavesmire.
The Pulborough handler said: “The Ebor is a punt because he has never been further than a mile and two, but when he switches off he travels very sweet, so I don’t see why he couldn’t stay further.
“I would rather try now, before he’ll be too high in the weights, so this will be our last possible opportunity to run in a race like the Ebor.
“Despite the trip, you know they are going to go a good pace with 22 runners, which is why we think the Ebor is the right race to try him over further. I think it will be interesting to see how we fare.”
Formerly trained in France, the Blue Cup has progressed well for his new yard and Menuisier is keen to put a line through his run in the Steventon Stakes at Newbury, where he was last of the eight runners.
He said: “The ground was too quick. He got away with it at Royal Ascot and at Newbury he traveled well, but when he came under pressure he didn’t find anything.
“He wasn’t able to put his best foot forward there, but he came out of the race absolutely fine and it turned out to be a very good race. There was no shame in defeat, especially considering he couldn’t let himself down “
Reflecting on his Wolferton performance, Menuisier added: “The form of the race is very strong having finished just in front of Euchen Glen, who is a proven Group horse. As we all know, the Wolferton is a better race than a Listed race. I think he’ll be competitive later on in ‘normal’ Listed races and Group Threes.”
As well as Blue Cup, Menuisier could be in action at the meeting with stable star Wonderful Tonight – and any rain would be welcome.
He said: “If the whole meeting could be run on soft ground, it would suit me well!
“In an ideal world, we could do with a bit of rain for the Blue Cup. I also have migration set to run in the mile-and-a-quarter handicap on the Saturday and Wonderful Tonight holds an entry in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks.
“We have York and a couple of French options for her. We will go wherever we think suits best.
“She’s in good form and has come out of Goodwood (Lillie Langtry Stakes) very well. If the ground is on the easy side at York, the Yorkshire Oaks is definitely a race we are bearing in mind.”