Oliver Cole favouring Paris option for Highland Chief instead of St Leger

Mon 24 Aug 2020

Highland Chief is set to head to the Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris next month, instead of the St Leger.

Oliver Cole, who trains the Royal Ascot winner and Great Voltigeur runner-up alongside his father Paul, reports the plan is to supplement Highland Chief for the Group One at ParisLongchamp on September 13 rather than potentially taking on his York conqueror Pyledriver again at Doncaster the same weekend.

The Grand Prix de Paris – usually held in July but moved back in the calendar because of this year’s Covid-19-enforced contingencies – provides an alternative opportunity for Fitri Hay’s three-year-old against his own age group.

“The plan is to go to the Grand Prix de Paris with him,” said Cole, who has not totally ruled out Doncaster but is strongly favouring another chance over a mile and a half rather than the move up two more furlongs for Britain’s oldest Classic.

“You can never say not, but I doubt it,” he added, of the St Leger.

“I think the Grand Prix de Paris is probably the way forward with him. We’re going to have to supplement him – he’s not in at the moment.

“We’ll have to prepare him again to see if he’s on song for the day, but it’s a pencilled-in plan anyway.”

Highland Chief fared best of those beaten over 12 furlongs on the Knavesmire last week – but he was three and a half lengths adrift of Pyledriver at the line, and Cole is full of admiration for William Muir’s dual Group Two winner.

“If Pyledriver is probably going to the St Leger, it’s probably best for us to go to Paris,” he said.

“Pyledriver was very impressive, wasn’t he, wow! He absolutely wiped everyone out – great for racing, wasn’t it, to see a performance like that?”

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