Julie Camacho’s Commonwealth and July Cup winner Shaquille ran no sort of a race when last seen in the Sprint Cup at Haydock, a performance which still has connections scratching their heads.
Having missed the break badly in both his Group One wins, he broke on terms on Merseyside only to be beaten by halfway.
Nothing has subsequently come to light, but should he continue to please on the gallops, then October 21 is likely to have a ring around it on the calendar.
“He’s fine, we’re just taking it one step at a time,” said Steve Brown, Camacho’s husband and assistant.
“He worked on Saturday and we were pleased with him, he’ll work again this week and the following week we’ll go away and have a racecourse gallop somewhere.
“Nothing is decided yet, that will be just to take him to a different environment and see how he handles it and to get him back on a racecourse, get the blood flowing a little bit and then we’ll see from there.”
Reflecting on Haydock, Brown added: “It’s disappointing that we haven’t found an absolute reason that he was so below form at Haydock but as I always say, sometimes you just don’t have an answer. We might like to think we do, but sometimes we just don’t.
“I’ve slightly taken the view that it was just too bad to be true unfortunately. Whilst we were all devastated on the day, the only thing we can do is regroup and look forward.”
Shaquille is one of 23 remaining in contention for the British Champions Sprint, for which last year’s winner Kinross is ante-post favourite following his near-miss in France on Sunday.
In the Champion Stakes, the progressive Horizon Dore heads the market with Coral with Bay Bridge, King Of Steel and Mostahdaf among the 16 contenders.
Paddington and Tahiyra headline 18 in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes with Free Wind, Time Lock and Via Sistina among 26 possibles in the Fillies & Mares.
Trueshan, Kyprios, Courage Mon Ami and Coltrane are all still among 17 in the Long Distance Cup.
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