Watch Roger Charlton's interview with David Fitzgerald on Racing UK at Sandown on Wednesday night in which he discussed Kieran Shoemark, several of his horses and an "unfortunate" running of the Coral-Eclipse
Roger Charlton is hopeful Projection can give him a record-equalling fourth success in the Qatar Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood on Saturday fortnight.
Charlton has won what is traditionally one of the most competitive sprint handicaps of the year with Harmonic Way (1999), Patavellian (2003) and Genki (2009) and believes Projection, a general 10-1 for the £250,000 feature, is well qualified to emulate that trio.
The four-year-old was having only the tenth race of his career when third in the Wokingham at Royal Ascot last time, when beaten three quarters of a length behind Out Do, and the Beckhampton handler says that effort deserves marking up.
“We had a slightly bumpy ride getting to Ascot and I thought be ran incredibly well from arguably the wrong side - mainly because he had to hit the front to catch up as he had three lengths to make up on those on the other side," he told Racing UK.
"Ideally you want something to lead you there but he had go two furlongs out.
“He was unlucky in the Stewards’ Cup consolation race last year, when he got interfered with, but the Stewards’ Cup has been a lucky race for us and he deserves to win one of these big races. Touch wood, he’s in good shape and we will give it a whirl.”
Decorated Knight has been a great flagbearer for Charlton this term, winning two Group One prizes, and could seek a third in either the Juddmonte International or Irish Champion Stakes.
On his latest start the impeccably-bred son of Galileo was sixth in the Coral-Eclipse but he suffered interference more than once and another rival, Eminent, tried to bite him in the closing stages.
“We all saw it was a rough race, and I think it was an unfortunate race,” Charlton said. “I don’t want to criticise the rider [Padraig Beggy] of the pacemaker but clearly he didn’t go fast enough to suit anybody.
“They got concertinaed up and it became rough. I thought he’d [Decorated Knight] come home with lumps and bumps on his legs but he’s absolutely fine.
“There was a thought of going to the Arlington Million, which he’d nearly be favourite for, but he’s a had quite a lot of racing, and when it’s been hot, so I think we will bide our time. Whether he shows up at York or in the Irish Champion we will see.
“With a clean run, I think he would have finished an honourable third in the Eclipse and that would have looked good on his CV. That’s what we are building. He’s got a terrific pedigree and my job is not only to win races but also try but make stallions. That’s obviously what he is going to end up doing.”
The Betfred Ebor at York on August 26 could be a possibility for Blakeney Point, who was a luckless fourth in the Old Newtown Cup at Haydock last time, while Maxzeem, available at 20-1 with Betfair and Paddy Power, will take his chance in the Gigaset International Handicap at Ascot Saturday week provided he makes the cut.
A half-brother of Al Kazeem, the latter finished runner-up in a handicap at Newmarket’s July meeting on his latest start and will be 3lb well in at Ascot as he would be able to race off his old mark.
Atty Persse ran well below-par in the Group Three Bahrain Trophy at the same meeting, having previously been a decisive winner at Royal Ascot under Kieran Shoemark.
“We were all disappointed with Atty Persse at Newmarket,” Charlton said. “I thought the course and trip would suit him but he was beaten as far as three out. Clearly, he ran too bad to be true, but so far we’ve not found any reason for that.
“Maybe it was trainer error, maybe he had a harder race [than it looked] at Ascot. It is not an exact science.”
Shoemark has recently ridden out his claim but Charlton will continue to give him plenty of support.
“He rides very well, he’s naturally good rider,” the trainer said. “He has a very good agent in Tony Hind, and he’s always saying he is the next Ryan Moore - ‘you watch him pull his stick through, he’s very quick’. He knows the formbook, has got a very good head on his shoulders and he interviews very well.
“I’m happy, and I think my owners are, to give him rides on decent horses.”
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