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Frankie Dettori says QEII Stakes will be ideal for Al Wukair

13 Aug 2017

Andre Fabre-trained colt cut for Champions Day feature after Group 1 win in France

Al Wukair pictured before he finished third in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas

Frankie Dettori believes the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot on October 21 is the logical aim for Al Wukair after the colt had landed the Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville on Sunday.

Al Wukair, trained by Andre Fabre, got up on the line to beat his stablemate, Inns Of Court, by a short head in the Group 1 contest, with the Saeed bin Suroor-trained Thunder Snow another short neck behind in third after he had forced the pace and looked the most likely winner half a furlong from home.

Third in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket to Churchill, Al Wukair has only been seen once since, when below-par at Maisons-Laffitte.

Dettori said. “Andre said to me to try and build it up as he doesn’t do anything quick so I decided to attack Christophe [Soumillon, on Thunder Snow] about two and a half out.

“He was playing around a bit, though, and looking around, so I had to get a bit serious with him and then when Mickael [Barzalona, on Inns Of Court] came alongside he felt it was time to go.

“He got a crack off Christophe’s whip in his face and I think that woke him up and we flashed past the line together. I wasn’t sure I’d won, but it’s a great win and he’s a good horse.”
He added: “Obviously the rain helped, I rode him on firm in the summer and he didn’t really like that.

“I guess the long-term plan will be the QEII, where he is guaranteed to get softer ground and he likes to go straight.

“A mile and a quarter is within his compass too, and at some stage we’ll look at stepping him up.”

Al Wukair was cut to as short as 7-1 for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes but remains 10-1 in places. Ribchester heads the market at 4-1.