Mick Channon is hoping Trais Fluors can enjoy a smoother passage than he got at Ascot when he returns to Sandown for the Coral Challenge on Saturday.
The gelding was an impressive winner at the Esher track last month, swooping home late under Silvestre De Sousa, before taking his chance at the Royal Meeting less than a week later.
But held up out the back, the former champion jockey seemed to find every bit of traffic when push came to shove in the Royal Hunt Cup, with his mount finishing tenth.
A big field, going a good gallop should have been perfect for the son of Dansili, but Channon is hoping for more luck this time around.
“If they go a strong pace here I think he should come there with every chance. I think there’s a good race in him,” he told Tote.
“He ran really well in the Hunt Cup where he was a bit unlucky but we were really pleased with him. That’s the Hunt Cup though, it’s just a bit of a lottery.”
Previously trained in France, before arriving in West Ilsley via a spell in Ireland with Ken Condon, Trais Fluors has taken in 22 Group races in his career, winning a Group 3 along the way, but Channon still sees more to come from him.
“He was a lead horse when he was with Andre Fabre and ran in all the big races, but we’ve had him gelded and he seems to be in great form.”
“He’s been a high class horse all his life but this is his first chance to be a racehorse really, having been used differently in the past.”
As to whether a return to Listed or Group contests are on the cards going forward are likely to depend on how he goes back at Sandown from a 5lb higher mark in a stronger race than the one he won, though his trainer wouldn’t rule it out.
“You’d like to think so, but as a seven-year-old you’ve got to be realistic. He’s probably only got a couple of years left racing, but we’ll see what we can do,” he said.
Group 1 company beckons for Illykato
Channon also had Illykato entered for Sandown’s World Pool card, but has opted to skip the Distaff Stakes for a return to Group 1 level, having finished sixth in the Cheveley Park last year.
“She’ll go to Newmarket for the Falmouth. She’s in good form and we’ll roll the dice. It’s a long season, so we’ll have a look at Saturday and see what happens after that.”
A late burst saw her claim her black type by winning at Listed level at Goodwood two starts back, but was very disappointing when only seventh in the Eternal Stakes at Carlisle two weeks ago.
For her trainer though, it’s a race to ignore.
“Everything went wrong for her at Carlisle, you’ve just got to put a line through that run. She was slow out the stalls and nothing happened for her really.”
Heading to the July Course, Illykato could clash with the likes of Alcohol Free and Snow Lantern, but would be a most interesting contender on only her second start at a mile.