The 2000 Guineas winner bounced back to winning ways with victory in the Joel Stakes at Newmarket late last month, following a luckless run that had seen him finish fourth in the Derby, Sussex Stakes and Juddmonte International.
Trainer Andrew Balding and owners Qatar Racing had been considering an outing in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, but the likelihood of very soft ground means the Kitten’s Joy colt will instead plot a direct route to the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Keeneland on November 7.
David Redvers, racing manager for Sheikh Fahad’s operation, said: “Given the ground at Ascot is going to be testing, Kameko will go straight to the Breeders’ Cup and will not run on Saturday.”
Kameko had been as short as 4-1 with some bookmakers for the Ascot Group One. In his absence, the John Gosden-trained Palace Pier is now a top-priced 4-6 favourite, with last year's runner-up The Revenant into 5-1.
Nazeef will take on her stablemate, Palace Pier, in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. The four-year-old has progressed through the ranks, climbing from a maiden success all the way up to two Group One victories this season.
Those came against her own sex in the Falmouth Stakes and the Sun Chariot, so Saturday will be her toughest task – but it is one connections feel she deserves to take.
“She’s done us proud all year,” said Angus Gold, racing manager to owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum. “Obviously, she had a couple of setbacks in terms of Goodwood, where they felt she didn’t come down the hill, and it was horrible ground in Deauville, but she bounced back to form the other day.
“She is very tough, and has a great attitude. John says all she does is eat and sleep, that she doesn’t over-exert herself at home and so doesn’t take a lot out of herself – hopefully she’s still in good form.
“At his time of year you never know, but they are happy with her. She handles easy ground. If it got really bad, I don’t know what would happen.”
Sheikh Hamdan’s other likely runner, Molatham, has something to find on ratings, though he does have smart form.
Trained by Roger Varian, the three-year-old colt won the Group Three Jersey Stakes over seven furlongs at Royal Ascot and was third behind Wichita in the Group Two Park Stakes at Doncaster last month.
“He’s a nice horse,” said Gold. “He’s going to have to step up a couple of gears to get involved in something like this, but he won the Jersey well on the same track.”
Watch a full replay of Oxted's July Cup success
Meanwhile, Oxted is set to take his chance in the Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes. Connections have decided to bite the bullet and see if the July Cup winner can cope with the likely testing conditions.
While trainer Roger Teal is hoping the ground dries out from Wednesday morning’s official description of soft, heavy in places, he feels they should take the plunge.
Oxted showed his well-being in his final piece of work to rubber-stamp his place in the six-furlong Group One and run for the first time since he won the July Cup at Newmarket.
“He did his final blow on Tuesday on the grass and went really nicely, so we’re happy with him going into Saturday. It’s all systems go,” said the Lambourn handler.
“The plan is to run. We’re going to take our chance. Obviously, we’ve got to find out if he’ll go on the softer conditions. We confirmed to run, so we might as well take our chance now.”
He added: “The sun’s shining this morning. Hopefully it will stay that way for the next three days and tighten the ground up a bit and then the tighter the ground gets, the better the chance we have.”
“You’ve got to find these things out. There’s no point in keep ducking the issue. He’s bred to go on it. His mum went on it and his dad went on it, so on his pedigree he’s got a good chance of handling it now he’s stronger.
“You can’t guarantee it, but I think we’re in better shape now to find out one way or the other.”
Oxted is a best-priced 13-2 with William Hill.
David Egan shrugged off losing the plum ride on Mishriff at Ascot on Saturday by steering Traisha to victory in the feature British Stallion Studs EBF Beckford Stakes at Bath.
Egan is retained by Prince Faisal, who has given the ride on the French Derby winner in the Qipco Champion Stakes to Frankie Dettori.
The young jockey put that behind him to take the Listed honours on Irish raider Traisha, trained by Joseph O’Brien.
“Frankie won on him (Mishriff) the last day when I wasn’t able to go due to a suspension, but hopefully I’ll have another good day on him sometime,” Egan told Sky Sports Racing.
“It’s part of racing. The Prince has been very good to me. He sent me to Saudi where I finished second on him and I won a nice race in Newmarket, so it’s been a good connection with the Prince and I’m still retained to him. It’s just on this occasion he decided to use Frankie and I respect his decision.
“For his horses, he pays a lot of money. His breeding operation is probably very important for this next ride so he wants the best in the business, so I can’t give out to myself being jocked off by the best.”Racing TV has designed three slick, breathable masks to help you tackle everyday tasks in a stylish manner! Simply join and deposit with one of our 10 betting partners and we'll send you a pack of three for FREE! Click here for more details.
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