Sylvester Kirk admits he was quite happy to take Oisin Murphy’s advice and head to the Far East with Salouen.
The Lambourn handler revealed the jockey’s first words on dismounting after finishing sixth in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe was to aim for the Longines Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin on December 9.
“It was about five seconds after Oisin got off Salouen following the Arc that he suggested Hong Kong was the direction we should be heading towards,” said Kirk.
Murphy has ridden almost 200 winners globally during 2018 and has partnered a string of Group One winners, including Roaring Lion, Benbatl, The Tin Man and Lightning Spear.
He was partnering Salouen for the first time in Europe’s greatest race and – despite a slow start and interference near the finish – the pair were beaten just three and three-quarter lengths by the brilliant Enable.
It was not the first time Salouen had run a big race against a John Gosden-trained superstar, for in June the four-year-old only went down by a head to Cracksman in the Coronation Cup at Epsom.
Kirk reported Salouen to be in tip-top shape after a racecourse gallop over a mile at Kempton earlier this week with Murphy in the saddle.
“I really don’t think Salouen has ever been better,” said the trainer.