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Skalleti enters Champion Stakes calculations after more Dollar delight

Sat 3 Oct 2020

Skalleti became the first horse to win back-to-back renewals of the Qatar Prix Dollar since Cirrus Des Aigles seven years ago when staging a late show at ParisLongchamp.

The five-year-old came from the clouds to cut down Patrick Sarsfield and land the Group Two spoils by a length and a quarter for trainer Jerome Reynier and jockey Maxime Guyon.

Raging Storm made the running and soon set up a six-length advantage which he maintained into the straight, where Frankie Dettori set sail for home on Patrick Sarsfield.

It looked like Joseph O’Brien’s four-year-old was heading for victory, but Skalleti got a dream run on the far rail to nail the leader, with Dariyma two and a half lengths away in third.

“With a pacemaker like that, we know in the final straight he was going to go backwards and we didn’t want to take him along the rail, so he had to be squeezed a little bit between horses,” Reynier told Sky Sports Racing.

“He got the go from Maxime Guyon to chase Dettori’s horse. I was thought it was going to be a tough task, but he had so much to give and he has been very impressive this year once again in this race.”

Reynier is keen to run Skalleti in the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot on October 17 if he can find somewhere to house him in England due to the coronavirus restrictions.

“He is in very good shape and we want to try the Champion Stakes in two weeks’ time, but logistically it is not easy because we have to send him without his staff and he is a very special horse and he needs to be in really good care,” said the Marseilles-based handler.

“Maybe if we can find someone who can host him for a day or two in England before the race, maybe we will take this gamble.

“I have four boxes in Chantilly for two weeks and if we take the decision to cross the challenge and go for the Champion Stakes, he will be based in Chantilly and he won’t have to go very far to travel.”

Skalleti was slashed to 14-1 from 33-1 for the Champion Stakes with Paddy Power.

Valia came from last to first to run out a comfortable winner of the opening Qatar Prix Chaudenay.

Alain de Royer-Dupre’s lightly-raced three-year-old, wearing the colours of the Aga Khan, proved too good for the opposition in the Group Two over one mile and seven furlongs.

Christophe Soumillon was content to sit back as Mykiss cut out the pace while Ralph Beckett’s British raider Max Vega appeared to be in a good position only to be found wanting when the tempo increased in the final straight.

Valia made smooth progress to hit the front and draw away to score by two lengths from Nemean Lion. Step By Step was third with Max Vega fourth of the six runners.

De Royer-Dupre said: “Today was her first attempt at both the ground and the trip, but she has had an excellent run there. She is a classy filly.

“After she suffered some interference in the Vermeille, we couldn’t take the risk in running her in a race as high standard as the Arc.

“She has done that easily, even if the distance was a shade long. She will be better over 2,400 metres (12 furlongs), but we didn’t have much of a choice with our programme and we will continue to aim towards to the Prix Royal-Oak.

“Realistically, there are no other opportunities this year for her at Group One level.”

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