Connections of Roaring Lion have given up on the notion of seeing their star turn run in Saturday’s Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot.
The John Gosden-trained three-year-old has won his last three starts at Group One level over a mile and a quarter, adding the Irish Champion Stakes last month to midsummer successes in the Coral-Eclipse and the Juddmonte International Stakes.
Ascot however has been deluged with more than 40mm of rain since last weekend and Roaring Lion will now drop back in distance to run over a mile for the first time since he finished fifth in the 2,000 Guineas behind Saxon Warrior in May.
The Queen Elizabeth II Stakes takes place on the straight mile at Ascot, where the ground is marginally better than the round course on which the Champion Stakes will be run, and that has helped connections with their decision.
There are no worries over his speed for a mile according to David Redvers, racing manager to owner Sheikh Fahad.
“Obviously it’s disappointing he can’t compete in the Champion Stakes, but all along we’ve known that while we don’t have too much of a fear about him acting on soft ground, he’s got too good an action to have him flying through mud,” he confirmed.
“Also, he seems to be more about speed this horse, he’s not a grinder – he’s got a serious turn of foot. I don’t think there’s any question now he’s a faster horse than when he ran in the Guineas.”
Roaring Lion is favourite at 3.10 to win the QEII at Ascot on Saturday afternoon.