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Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud: Ralph Beckett hoping Westover set up for Group One glory with pacemaker plan

Westover faces four rivals in Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud on Saturday with stablemate Malabu Drive sent over to act as a pacemaker for former Irish Derby hero; Lezoo to skip Prix Jean Prat after dirty scope following Royal Ascot disappointment

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Trainer Ralph Beckett says Westover has shown no hangover from the Coronation Cup and is ready to go for Saturday's Group One Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud, live on Sky Sports Racing

Trainer Ralph Beckett is confident he has Westover back in flying form ahead of Saturday’s Group One Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud, live on Sky Sports Racing.

The 2022 Irish Derby hero has looked unlucky not to have added to his trophy haul after running into potential superstar Equinox in the Dubai Sheema Classic before finding only Emily Upjohn too good in the Coronation Cup at Epsom last month.

He should find things a bit calmer in France this weekend, with just four rivals to beat and one of those is a designated pacemaker from the Beckett team.

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Previewing his star's chances, Beckett told Sky Sports Racing: "He looks well and I'm happy with him. He's ready to go again. Saint-Cloud is a very fair and galloping track so that should be a positive for him.

"We might have gone a different route if he'd won the Coronation Cup as I was always quite keen to drop him down to 10 furlongs for the Eclipse.

"We're going to Paris instead with a pacemaker [Malabu Drive] to ensure a nice even gallop and give Westover something to aim at."

An exuberant style has been a trait of Westover's from the very start, and while it has not prevented success at the highest level, Beckett is doing all he can to mitigate the risk of over-racing.

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French Claim (yellow cap) gives chase to Irish Derby winner Westover
Image: Westover faces four rivals in France this weekend

"It's always going to be there a little bit, that's never going to change, but it might get a little better as he gets older," Beckett said.

"It's part of his makeup. He did it before the Derby and was exuberant to post in the Irish Derby, same for the Arc as well, but in all three races he ran well."

Should Saturday go to plan, Beckett has his sights fixed on a shot at the King George at Ascot and a potential meeting with this year's Derby and Irish Derby winner Auguste Rodin.

"We've got enough time to run at Ascot if it goes well on Saturday and that would certainly be in our thinking but I don't have a strong view about it," Beckett said. "It's only Saturday we're focusing on at the minute."

Where next for Beckett's stars?

Kinross (July Cup) - “William Buick will ride. He’s in good shape, he just saw too much daylight at Royal Ascot [Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes] and was too prominent from the outsight. He’s better running at horses."

Remarquee and Prosperous Voyage (Falmouth) - "They will both run at Newmarket all being well."

Sonny Liston (John Smith's Cup) - "The handicapper thinks he’s 4lb well-in there and I hope he’s right."

Jimi Hendrix (Strensall Stakes) - "He has been busy so will probably wait for York in August."

Lezoo skips France trip after dirty scope

Westover's stablemates Lezoo and Juliet Sierra will not be on the lorry to France for the Prix Jean Prat at Deauville, with the former putting in a below-par effort at Royal Ascot last month.

"Lezoo is not quite herself," Beckett said. "She didn't run well in the Commonwealth Cup and didn't scope well after so she's on her way back.

"Juliet Sierra will go to the Summer Stakes at York next week - the six-furlong Group Three race.

"Her problem is she's had to carry a 3lb or 5lb penalty because the Dick Poole Stakes win was after August 31.

"It was pretty clear she didn't get the mile at York and if we were to run her at Royal Ascot she would have had a penalty in the Jersey Stakes."

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