Ascot aces collide in Morny
Last Updated: 22/08/14 12:42pm
Two Royal Ascot stars from opposite sides of the Atlantic clash in the Darley Prix Morny at Deauville on Sunday.
Neither John Quinn's The Wow Signal nor the Wesley Ward-trained Hootenanny have appeared since June, with the former having been briefly sidetracked following his Coventry Stakes victory.
Ward had been planning to take Hootenanny to this week's Gimcrack Stakes but the logistics of travel meant France would be an easier journey for the juvenile than York.
This could be a second consecutive Morny for the American trainer following No Nay Never's success 12 months ago.
After Hootenanny, who has the same Coolmore connection, blitzed his rivals the Windsor Castle Stakes, Ward wondered whether he should have instead taken on The Wow Signal at Ascot.
"I think mine is a pretty quality colt, but we went for the Windsor Castle stakes because he was beaten in his previous run on the dirt," he said.
"I was disappointed with him that day because I think so highly of him.
"But when he won at Ascot in a time that I believe was almost as fast as the older horses (in the King's Stand Stakes), I was kind of kicking myself as he was taking home a Listed race and The Wow Signal was winning a Group Two.
"I think he's capable of running over a mile, he's a really big colt with a nice shoulder on him.
"He's arrived in France, he's doing well, and I think even if the track gets a little wet, it will suit him."
The Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh had been the target for The Wow Signal but Harry Herbert, advisor to owner Al Shaqab Racing, said: "It was infuriating to miss the Phoenix as he was in great form but literally just had a couple of coughs and his blood was slighty off which was agony for John Quinn and everybody.
"He's back firing on all cylinders now and we're hopeful that he'll run a big race.
"I think he'll get seven, he's out of a High Chaparral mare, so ultimately we'll be looking at the Dewhurst, something like that.
"He's very good, a slightly forgotten horse, really, as he's disappeared since the Coventry."
The remaining seven runners are trained on the continent, with the Aga Khan's filly Ervedya looking a very bright prospect when taking her unbeaten record to three in the Prix de Cabourg, a traditional trial over course and distance at the start of the month.
Group Three winner Goken was not far behind Richard Hannon's Kool Kompany in the Prix Robert Papin, while Quevedo represents Spain.