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Wednesday 7 December 2016

Prix Morny next port of call for Shalaa after stunning Goodwod display

Shalaa ridden by Frankie Dettori on their way to victory in the Qatar Richmond Stakes during day three of the Glorious Goodwood Festival, Chichester
Shalaa ridden by Frankie Dettori on their way to victory in the Qatar Richmond Stakes during day three of the Glorious Goodwood Festival, Chichester

The Prix Morny at Deauville remains the likely next port of call for Shalaa following his stunning display at Goodwood last week.

The John Gosden-trained colt finished last of eight on his Newbury debut in mid-May, but has since completed a hat-trick of victories and looked every inch a top-class juvenile when landing the Richmond Stakes on the Sussex Downs in the hands of Frankie Dettori

Shalaa heads a formidable team of two-year-olds for leading owners Al Shaqab Racing, with Hugo Palmer's Vintage Stakes winner Galileo Gold and the Richard Hannon-trained Prix Robert Papin hero Gutaifan also in the mix for the some of the big prizes later in the year.

Al Shaqab's racing manager, Harry Herbert, said: "He (Shalaa) is special, isn't he? He's taken a while and as everyone knows his first run at Newbury was an absolute shocker.

"John Gosden was very happy with him before that race, he'd worked brilliantly at home, but he just didn't engage.

"At Newmarket he was almost running away with Frankie and you thought he'd fold in a heap and finish last, and he found another gear and won impressively. That was an exciting moment.

"The July Stakes is the July Stakes and I think what we saw last week is that the horse had really grown up mentally. That was seriously impressive.

"He'll go to France - he's a (Prix) Morny horse through and through, so long as the ground's not horrible and John Gosden is happy with him.

"He looks a very talented horse indeed. I know Frankie is immensely high on him and is hopeful he's a genuine Group One horse in the making."

Herbert sees Gutaifan as the "reserve" for the Prix Morny, should testing conditions prevail on August 23.

He told At The Races: "He loved the soft ground in France the other day and did it really well.

"He's a fantastic horse. He's a really gutsy, game horse who loves his racing.

"With a bit of juice in the ground, he's a bit special and he's a reserve candidate for the Morny if it turned soft."

Of Galileo Gold, Herbert added: "He's a lovely horse. He's still slightly on the leg, but we rolled the dice at Goodwood and it came off, which is great.

"I think on a more conventional track, and possibly over a mile, he's a very good horse with a lot more to come. There should be huge improvement for him."

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