Illustrious Blue is highly unlikely to take up his engagement in the Melbourne Cup in November with connections favouring the shorter trip to France.
The Goodwood Cup winner was far from disgraced when finishing fifth in last month’s Lonsdale Cup at York and while trainer William Knight had been eyeing a possible trip Down Under, October’s Prix du Cadran is now his preferred target.
“They didn’t go quick at York and had they gone that stronger pace, it would have set itself up nicely for him,” Knight told At The Races.
“I wasn’t disappointed at all with that run and he has come out of the race well, but I think it’s pretty much certain that he isn’t going to go to the Melbourne Cup.
“We’re going to train him for the Prix du Cadran and then put him away for the year.
“There have been people trying to buy the horse and he’s had a long season.
“It’s a long way out to Melbourne and obviously it’s a chance of a lifetime, but this horse owes me nothing and I’d never forgive myself if something happened to him going down there or in the race.
“He’s been on the go since February and was out in Dubai, so one would wonder whether the horse would carry his form all the way through to November.
“It’s the safe bet not to go and we’d like to have a go at a Group One this year.
“The Prix du Cadran is two and a half miles on a right-handed track and should suit him down to the ground.”