Cesarewitch date on ice for Olympiad

Connections of Olympiad will wait until nearer the time before making a definite decision on his participation in the Betfred Cesarewitch.

The Dermot Weld-trained four-year-old is a 12-1 chance with the sponsors for the October 13 contest at Newmarket after claiming a decent handicap at York last month.

That was the four-year-old’s fifth career start and he would be lining up off a mark of 96 in the two-and-a-quarter-mile handicap after racing off 89 on the Knavesmire.

“The intention is to run, but he has a couple of options in Ireland as well,” said Barry Simpson, racing manager to owner Sir Robert Ogden.

“Dermot is just taking it day by day and the race is still a couple of weeks away yet.

“He’s an interesting horse and I think he has the right kind of profile for this race. We’ve not had much mileage out of him as he’s a horse who has taken some time to mature.

“Dermot has identified a couple of alternative options in Ireland, including a Listed race, and we will take a view nearer the time.

“Obviously we don’t know what is running yet and while he seems pretty versatile in terms of ground, if he was going to be carrying a big weight on very testing ground, we might think again.

“We think he will be a lovely staying horse for next year and we will see whether he can step up from handicaps to Listed or Group company, but it’s a possibility.

“He’s only really just finished growing now and we think he will be a nice horse next year.”

Meanwhile, trainer David Nagle is favouring a trip to Ascot with Ayr Gold Cup third Maarek.

The five-year-old defied top weight to finish just under four lengths behind Captain Ramius at the Scottish track last Saturday, just a week after notching a Group Three win at the Curragh.

Nagle was thrilled with his effort and is now looking towards the Group Two Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes at Ascot on October 20 with his charge.

However, while unlikely at present, a crack at next weekend’s Prix de l’Abbaye at Longchamp has not been completely ruled out.

“At the moment I would be leaning towards Ascot rather than the Abbaye,” said the Co Tipperary handler.

“He likes a stiff six furlongs and obviously the Abbaye is only over five.

“We will keep our options open, but it would have to come up very soft for him to take his chance at Longchamp.

“The Abbaye is one of those races where you could run it 10 times and get 10 different results – you need a lot of luck there.

“We were delighted with him at Ayr. He likes a fast pace and if they’d have gone a bit faster early on last Saturday he might have been second, but he wouldn’t have caught the winner.

“It was always going to be a big ask off his rating but he’s a super horse and is just so consistent.”

If Maarek does go to Ascot, it is likely to be his final outing of the year.

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