Percy facing stiff test in Champion Stakes

SIR PERCY is 4-1 favourite to add the Emirates Airline Champion Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday to his Vodafone Derby triumph.

Ladbrokes installed the Marcus Tregoning-trained colt as market leader after 15 horses were confirmed yesterday for the Group One showpiece over a mile and a quarter.

The lightly-raced three-year-old, who has not run since his narrow victory at Epsom in June, is likely to face his toughest task to date should he take on his elders.

Opposition to the Marcus Tregoning-trained colt could include the 2005 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe hero Hurricane Run, multiple Group One-winning mare Ouija Board as well Notnowcato and Maraahel, first and second respectively in the Juddmonte International at York.

Pride, runner-up to David Junior in this race 12 months ago and second in the Arc earlier this month, has been left in by her trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre.

The six-year-old mare is 9-2 second favourite.

Other French acceptors are Laverock and Lahudood.

As well as Sir Percy, other 2006 Classic winners standing their ground are Irish 2000 Guineas winner Araafa and French Oaks heroine Confidential Lady.

Aidan O’Brien has left in Ivan Denisovich from his five entries, while Pinson is Godolphin’s sole survivor from three.

The other possibles are Fracas, Rob Roy and Olympian Odyssey.

Two surprise absentees were Multidimensional and Soviet Song.

The former was ruled out after returning an unsatisfactory scope – even though the Henry Cecil-trained three-year-old had been expected to be supplemented after impressing when winning a Deauville Group Two in August.

However, Cecil reported the colt to have been coughing over the weekend and will now be put away for a four-year-old campaign.

Cecil said: “Multidimensional gave a couple of coughs after work at the weekend and his scope was not satisfactory.

“Up until now his work has been more than pleasing but the connections have obviously decided not to supplement for the Champion Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday and he will not run again this year.

“He will stay in training for next season.”

By contrast, Soviet Song has been retired after disappointing her trainer James Fanshawe in a workout on Saturday.

The daughter of Marju collected total prize money of £1,168,370 and enjoyed nine successes in her glittering 24-race career, gaining top honours in Group One company on five occasions.

Fanshawe had been considering running her in the Champion Stakes, but after failing to shine in her work and on the racecourse for much of the present campaign, connections have decided to call time on her racing career.

Emirates Airline Champion Stakes

Ladbrokes bet: 4-1 Sir Percy, 9-2 Pride, 5-1 Hurricane Run, Ouija Board, 6-1 Notnowcato, 8-1 Araafa, Maraahel, 16-1 Pinson, 20-1 bar.

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