Up and coming Newmarket handler James Ferguson is hoping El Bodegon can put a disapppointing run in the Dante behind him to take French Derby glory at Chantilly on Sunday, June 5.
Ferguson spent time with Jessica Harrington, Charlie Appleby and Sir Mark Prescott so knows a bit about saddling Group 1 winners.
Already a Group 3 victor at the French racecourse, the Kodiac colt El Bodegon went on to take the Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud last October, beating Epsom Derby 2022 fancy Stone Age in the process.
His bid for the upcoming Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly took a blow when he could finish no better than seventh of eighth in the Dante Stakes at York on May 12.
El Bodegon raced prominently under Daniel Muscatt and was pushed along from three furlongs out but couldn't find much at the business end and tailed off into seventh of eighth of the runners in the Group 2 on the Knavesmire.
The Dante was raced on good ground at York but both of El Bodegon's previous two wins have come on soft ground or worse. Ferguson is hoping that there is more give in the ground in Northern France and the return of Ioritz Mendizabal, who was in the saddle for both of his previous French successes, is another boost. Taking stock of the Dante run, Ferguson said: "I think we'll give him the benefit of the doubt and run him in France where everything should be in his favour, hopefully. "He's obviously done his best racing in France and they're due a bit of rain at Chantilly, so hopefully there'll be a bit of ease in the ground and I think it's the logical step going forward really." However, El Bodegon remains an outsider for the Prix du Jockey Club, and will have to get round favourite Modern Games of the Charlie Appleby yard. "It's a very competitive race and Modern Games is going to be very hard to beat, but we're going there with every chance and looking forward to it," Ferguson added. "He's in good form, the plan is for Ioritz to ride and we'll learn a lot more about him."
— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) October 23, 2021
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