Trainer Tony Mullins was set to send stable star Princess Zoe over to Saudi Arabia for the Saudi Cup meeting but has now decided against this plan with reservations that the ground over there will not play to her strengths.
Princess Zoe really made a name for herself on the flat last term having made a massive rise through the ranks from a horse off a mark of 64 to now winning Group One events.
Having moved over to Tony Mullins' yard from Germany this year, the handler did not know what to expect with the mare and in June she was sent to Navan where she finished a good second in a handicap event.
She then headed to the Curragh where she broke her duck in Ireland winning another good handicap and then raced three straight times at Galway and won all he races landing four straight races in a row and becoming a specialist at the track.
Having never raced further 1m4f, stepping up a mile looked strange but it was a genius stroke by the handler as late on in the day the mare managed to stay on best of all to land the event, to the delight of her connections and trainer.
The five-year-old was bidding for a sixth successive win on her return to Paris for the Prix Royal-Oak and although not going on to win, she was far from disgraced in finishing fourth behind the Mark Johnston-trained Subjectivist.
The plan for this year was to head to the Saudi Cup meeting at Riyadh and then eventually target everything towards the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Paris Longchamp in October, but now he will start her off elsewhere on her route to France.
(Credit ATR) “We’ve decided against it. I’d love to go, but we thought the ground wouldn’t be suitable for her,” said Mullins.
“We want to run her with a cut in the ground, and it’s unlikely over there. We’d have loved the money – but we’ll do right by her.
“I’d imagine we’d start in a suitable race at the Curragh if there is one, if not the Vintage Crop at Navan – that’s the plan.
“If it looks like having a crack at the best over a mile and a half is possible we’ll do it – if not we won’t. We believe she’ll be as effective over a mile and a half, and if we’re wrong the Cadran is always there.
“We’d like to prove it’s possible, but if it’s not that’s it. It’s nice to be thinking of these races, anyway.”