Mishriff team say ‘primary focus’ is Juddmonte International defence

But Eclipse second will retain King George option later this month.

Mishriff could be set to tread a similar path to 12 months ago following his close-up second in the Coral-Eclipse, with a run in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on July 23 on the cards before he attempts to defend his Juddmonte International crown at York later in the summer.

John and Thady Gosden’s globetrotter was perhaps unfortunate not to pick up his fourth Group One at Sandown when beaten a neck on his first appearance since disappointing in Saudi Arabia earlier in the year.

Mishriff was slowly away in the hands of David Egan, but that looked immaterial as he made stylish headway as the race entered the business end. However, he was soon short of room with a furlong to run and Egan had no option but to shift Mishriff to the outside and narrowly failed to reel in Vadeni, who was one of three Classic winners in a high-class renewal of the Sandown contest.

Rather than wistfully dream of what could have been, connections are delighted with the performance and the seven-time winner is reported to have bounced out of the race in rude health, which brings a trip to Ascot later this month into the equation.

“We were really proud of him, he wasn’t far away having been off a while,” said Ted Voute, racing manager for Mishriff’s owner Prince Faisal.

“We’ve improved our finishing position in the race from third last year to second and he has come out of the race really well. John rang me on Sunday to say he had trotted up sound and he mentioned the King George that he has an entry in, as well as the Juddmonte International.

“Last year I remember he came out of the Eclipse and we didn’t really have a plan for the King George and then John saying he’s bouncing out of his skin and we should look to run him in the race.

“We could possibly do that again, but the primary focus is on the Juddmonte. We will stay in the King George and see what sort of race it is and either throw our hat in the mix or bypass and head straight for the Juddmonte.

“I wouldn’t say we’ll definitely go to the King George, but we will see what turns up. I’m guessing the Irish and English Derby winners will be there and I suppose it’ll be a fair race with both of them being in there!

“Although I think we proved on Saturday that we’re well among the three-year-olds, even with giving away 10lb, and we shouldn’t be afraid of taking them on as the weights change throughout the year.”

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