Lonsdale Cup hero Quickthorn is likely to skip the Irish St Leger, with Hughie Morrison eyeing up riches in France as well as the traditional curtain-call for the staying division at Ascot on Qipco British Champions Day.
The five-year-old took advantage of the absence of Stradivarius and Trueshan when romping to a 14-length victory in the two-mile York Group Two, but it is difficult to say if those two long-distance stars would have beaten the son of Nathaniel, who has now strung together three victories at Group level since changing tactics to front-running.
Second when held up in both the Further Flight Stakes and Sagaro Stakes in April, Quickthorn first made all in Sandown’s Henry II Stakes before repeating the dose to oblige favourite backers in Longchamp’s Group Two Prix Maurice de Nieuil.
His exertions on the Knavesmire are likely to rule him out of a trip to the Curragh and, reflecting further on York and options for the future, Morrison said: “He’s physically fine, I think you can see it has maybe hit him, he’s a bit quieter. He looks well but the lad who rides him says he’s just that little bit quieter.
“I think Ireland is very unlikely and it will be one or two of the options in the autumn which are the Prix du Cadran, Prix Royal-Oak or the Long Distance Cup.”
Those who had watched Quickthorn’s previous victories would not have been shocked to see Tom Marquand setting hot fractions on the Knavesmire and Morrison believes although it was a fine ride, plenty of the credit needs reserving for the horse, who is proving himself to be a leading player in races over marathon distances.
He continued: “I found it quite irritating, and I think Tom acknowledged it as well, when people were saying what a brilliant ride it was [at York]. It was, but it was a brilliant ride at Sandown when he went off in front and did the same thing to them, which gave us the confidence to do it in the future.
“All he did is do what he had done twice before. I think the others just struggled to go with him and I read something which said the sectionals were very quick. If you compare it with the two-mile handicap two days before and the Ebor, the sectionals mid-race were very quick.
“Let’s hope we can keep him in the same form. I do very little with him and I won’t really know to be honest. He’s not exactly been worked hard between his races this summer. I’m just a name on the paper but it is good for morale.”
The Summerdown Stables handler also provided an update on the talented filly Stay Alert, who is being prepared for a tilt at the Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes at Ascot on October 15.
Off the track since finishing fifth in a tasty renewal of the Lancashire Oaks, she is already a Listed winner and put up a fine performance when chasing home Nashwa at Newbury on just her third start.
“She’s in good form, we just felt she had quite a busy early season,” said Morrison. “I think that Lancashire Oaks has turned out to be a very good race – the winner hasn’t run since, but the second has come out and won twice.
“My ideal scenario is to have a nice run and a bit of a blow in two or three weeks’ time, a sort of three-quarters fit run for a bit of experience, because she is still lacking a bit of experience really. Then have a go at the fillies’ and mares’ race on Champions Day.
“We know she likes soft ground and we think she is a nice filly, she just needs a bit of a chance.”