By Jon Lees
France: Last year’s Qipco Champion Stakes runner-up Skalleti will not attempt to go one better this year because his trainer believes the ground is unlikely to be soft enough.
The prolific grey has been scratched by Jerome Reynier from the G1 race, feature prize of Qipco British Champions Day, to wait for other targets in November.
“There is no problem with Skalleti, there is just no rain,” said Reynier. “If there is no rain, there is no Skalleti.
“We are not going to come to England to race on good ground. I don’t see any rain in the forecast. Maybe I am wrong but there is long travel involved and he needs all the criteria to be right for him to run up to standard.
“I don’t think he will be competitive enough against Mishriff or Love or horses like that.”
The gelding, who was second to Addeybb at Ascot last year when the ground rode soft, was an 8-1 chance this time having won four of his five races this year all on ground softer than good.
Although Ascot issued an official going description of soft on the round course eight days before the meeting, there is a dry forecast for next week.
Chris Stickels, clerk of the course and head of racing at Ascot, said: “We have recorded 44mm of rain in the last seven days but it has been a mostly dry week since racing last weekend (October 1-2).
“The ground on the round course has dried from heavy at the end of racing on Saturday to Soft now. We’re expecting heavy dews next week which will hold moisture in the ground so I don’t see it drying hugely from where it is now. The forecast is generally dry through to next Saturday, with an occasional light shower possible on Sunday and Tuesday.
“It’s often difficult at this time of year because forecasts and conditions can change very quickly but I would anticipate ground on the easy side of good at this stage.”
Skalleti, who has won 16 times, made his G1 breakthrough this year in the Prix d’Ispahan and doubled his score at the top level when he landed the Grosser Dallmayr-Preis in Munich by five lengths.
Reynier said he could return to Germany in November or go to Rome. “If we get some rain he will either go to the Premio Roma, where he won two years ago, or Munich where he won a G1 back in July,” said the trainer.
“We will cheer for Sealiway instead in the Champion Stakes after he finished fifth in the Arc.”
Qipco Champion Stakes betting (Ladbrokes): 11-8 Mishriff, 3 Adayar, 5 Addeybb, 7 Snowfall, 8 Real World, 12 Sealiway, 14 Love, 20 bar.