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Eclipse likely return point for Mishriff, with Dubai off the agenda

Following his Saudi Cup disappointment last weekend, Mishriff is expected to follow a similar path as last season but will not go to Dubai.

The John and Thady Gosden-trained five-year-old was drawn widest of all in stall 14 when attempting to land the $20million Riyadh feature for a second year in succession.

However, David Egan’s mount was beaten turning for home and allowed to come home at his own pace.

Plans to run in the $6m Sheema Classic on Dubai World Cup night, which he also won last season, have been shelved, according to Ted Voute, racing manager for Mishriff’s owner, Prince Faisal.

Voute said: “I saw John Gosden at Wednesday at Kempton and he said he was sound and great and he hadn’t done any veterinary check-ups yet.

“He was on Warren Hill and everything appeared fine.

“He definitely wasn’t himself in the Saudi Cup. Basically, most of last year, every time he ran in a Group One we did a medical check-up afterwards. He is valuable and he is pretty well insured, so we made that a standard practice.

“I think we are waiting to see if that throws any light on it.

Mishriff and David Egan winning last year's Saudi Cup
Mishriff and David Egan winning last year’s Saudi Cup (Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia/Douglas DeFelice)

“Looking at it, I think it was multi-factorial. He didn’t break as well as last year and David had to fight with him a little bit. Every time you do that he hangs his head on the side slightly and says, ‘Oh, I’m not sure I like this’. The track was a little bit deeper and he got some dirt in his face, and he wasn’t used to that particularly.

“I don’t think any one of those things beat him, but maybe a combination of all of them might have done.

“There was a lot of kickback this year and my enquiries suggest that there was a slightly different composition through a slightly deeper track.

“That would make a lot of sense with Japanese horses winning – they train on a much deeper surface at home and the local horses would have been training on it. The European horses on the dirt didn’t really fire this year. Last year they did.

“I can’t pinpoint anything apart from what everybody else can see at this moment. I’m sure John will say something when he has run the tests.”

Mishriff, who gained his third Group One success when landing the Juddmonte International at York last August, is set for another mid-summer campaign.

Voute added: “John did say he is not in any rush. We will try to follow the same plan as last year, so that would be the Eclipse next. We definitely won’t go to Dubai.

“I say that, but last year we said we wouldn’t go, then all of a sudden we went to the Sheema Classic!”

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