John Gosden has his long-range sights set on the Qipco Champion Stakes with King Of Comedy.
Winner of his first two starts of the campaign, the Kingman colt has not been seen since his fast-finishing second to Circus Maximus in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.
He is just part of a stellar potential cast for the highlight of Qipco British Champions Day at Ascot on October 19.
Gosden said: “I said after the St James’s Palace Stakes that the Champion Stakes would be an obvious target. I think it will be right up his alley.
“We’ve freshened him up and given him a break since Ascot. He was on the go fairly early in the spring.
“I think in the end his best trip is going to be a mile and a quarter and he likes Ascot. He’ll be suited by the trip and the track.
“He’s going to run in the Juddmonte International and he wouldn’t necessarily go straight to Ascot as he’s been entered in the Qipco Irish Champion Stakes as well. He’s going the right way and we’ve always thought enough of him.”
The horses entered for the feature race of the day have accumulated no fewer than 32 Group One victories between them and 10 European Classics.
Some of the stand-out names include Crystal Ocean and last week’s Goodwood heroine Deirdre, who could become the first Japanese runner to compete on Britain’s showcase day.
Gosden has also entered superstar mare Enable, who got the better of another Champion Stakes entry, Sir Michael Stoute’s Crystal Ocean, in a thrilling finish to last month’s King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes.
Enable’s owner Khalid Abdullah has another Champion Stakes possible in Headman, trained by Roger Charlton.
Teddy Grimthorpe, Abdullah’s racing manager, said: “Headman is going to run in Deauville so we’ll see how he goes from there, but he certainly could be one for the Champion Stakes.”
Circus Maximus was a half-length second to the now-retired Too Darn Hot in the Qatar Sussex Stakes at Goodwood.
His trainer Aidan O’Brien said: “I was delighted with Circus Maximus in the Sussex Stakes.
“There are a lot of things open to him as he is a relaxed horse. He is so relaxed at home, he just takes everything in his stride.
“It looks like it could be back up to a mile and a quarter next time.”
Elarqam has been resurgent this season, most recently landing the Sky Bet York Stakes.
His trainer Mark Johnston said: “I was absolutely delighted with Elarqam at York. The Champion Stakes is a possible, but it is one of many possibles.
“Any mile-and-a-quarter Group One between now and the end of the season is under consideration and that includes the Champion Stakes. We think he’s got the class for Group Ones, of course we do.”