Ground key to Gitano Champion raid

Ground key to Gitano Champion raid

Gitano Hernando will take his chance in the Emirates Airline Champion Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday week – providing conditions are in his favour.

The four-year-old chestnut has spent much of the season on the sidelines, having suffered an injury in the summer, but made a winning return in the Group Three Diamond Stakes at Dundalk last week.

Trainer Marco Botti is now keen to head to Headquarters on October 16, although a possible trip to the Breeders’ Cup is also not being ruled out.

“He’s in good form and I am very happy with his condition. He is very well and fresh, so we’re really pleased,” said the Italian handler.

“It was a good performance from him. Obviously we left plenty in the tank and he wasn’t 100% fit, so we expect him to come on a lot from that.

“He won by a neck but we thought it was quite comfortable.

“The plan is to run him in the Champion Stakes but we will consider the ground closer to the time, as we wouldn’t like to run him on heavy ground.

“The ground is going to be key and if it is not right for the horse, then we will think about the Breeders’ Cup.

“Whether he goes for the mile-and-a-half race (Breeders’ Cup Turf) or the Classic, would be decided nearer the time.

“We need to see what happens with the ground next week first.”

Asked about the possibility of running in the Champion Stakes and at the Breeders’ Cup, Botti added: “He’s a fresh horse and we gave him a long break, so we’ll see.

“We’ll keep all the options open.”

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