Rain hits Rakti plans

Rakti could miss his European swansong after heavy rain put his participation in Saturday’s Emirates Airline Champion Stakes in serious doubt.

Rakti could miss his European swansong after heavy rain put his participation in Saturday’s Emirates Airline Champion Stakes in serious doubt.

The six-year-old retires to stud at the end of the season and was due to make his final appearance on this continent in the Group One contest at Newmarket.

However, substantial rain in the last 24 hours has seen the ground turn to soft at Headquarters – conditions which could scupper Rakti’s plans.

Trainer Michael Jarvis told At The Races: “I’m afraid the ground has gone. It started raining in the middle of the afternoon yesterday and it’s continued all night and, at this moment, it’s still drizzling quite heavily.

“The final decision will rest with the owner Gary Tanaka and I shall speak to him this evening. I suspect he won’t run but the final word is the owner’s.

“It’s unfortunate the ground has gone as this would have been his last race in Europe before he retires to stud in Ireland next year.

“There is a possibility he may go to Hong Kong in December, but the Breeders’ Cup Mile is not on the agenda.”

Clerk of the course Michael Prosser said: “We have had half an inch of rain since last night and it’s basically been raining on and off since yesterday afternoon.

“We are expecting a dry 48 hours now. The wind is blowing and we are due to have temperatures of 15 degrees so I would expect it to improve as we are on fresh ground.”

Should Rakti miss out, Tanaka will still be represented by French challenger Touch Of Land, who is trained by Henri-Alex Pantall.

Touch Of Land is part of a strong French team with supplementary entry Pinson, Prospect Park and Pride completing the cross-Channel challenge.

Oratorio, who is trying to make it a Group One hat-trick, looks a likely favourite for Aidan O’Brien.

The Danehill colt, winner of the Coral-Eclipse and Irish Champion Stakes on his last two starts, is O’Brien’s only runner in the 10-furlong feature.

The Irish handler and Sir Michael Stoute are currently locked in a battle for the trainers’ championship and the latter will be well represented on Saturday.

Joel Stakes winner Rob Roy heads a team of three runners from Freemason Lodge, with dual Celebration Mile heroine Chic and International Stakes third Maraahel also lining up.

Godolphin will be double-handed with both Frankie Dettori’s mount Layman and Echo Of Light, who will be ridden by Ted Durcan, while Jim Bolger’s Alexander Goldrun will try to bounce back from a slightly disappointing show in France last time.

The Luca Cumani-trained Alkaased will bid for compensation after a late setback forced him to miss the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, with the home team completed by Whazzat and David Junior.

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