Nagano Gold has an opportunity to put racing in the Czech Republic on the world map when he runs in the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at ParisLongchamp.
While he will line up alongside Enable and the rest as one of the outsiders on Sunday, Nagano Gold has proved already that he can outrun his odds – having been an unconsidered 25-1 shot at Royal Ascot when he nearly pulled off an almighty shock in the Hardwicke Stakes.
He was marginally unlucky that day, too, having been broadsided by 2018 Derby winner Masar on coming out of the stalls, losing far more ground than the eventual half a length he was beaten by Defoe.
On the back of that, he was sent off favourite for the Grand Prix de Deauville but could finish only third.
“Everything has gone fine – his preparation has been perfect – we did what we wanted with no problems, and he’s in top form,” said Tomas Janda, racing manager to owner-trainer Vaclav Luka Jr.
“Of course it’s going to be a hard race.
Some of the best horses in the world are running, and we’ll be very happy to finish in the first five – that would be great.
“He’s a star at home, and if he’s in the first five that would be outstanding for our country.
“When he nearly won at Royal Ascot it was a huge story at home, and he was a little unlucky, but even still it was a good result.
He’s a good horse, given a perfect race, but to show his top form he needs a fast pace.
The slow pace was given as the reason for his Deauville defeat, but on Sunday Janda hopes the bigger field will ensure a truer test for the strong stayer.
He said: “We expect the Arc to be different from usual French races – we hope it is.
“At Deauville they went too slow early on.
We had a pacemaker, but they didn’t want to follow him even, so it turned into a sprint.
“He’s a stayer, and at Deauville his stamina was not needed – he stays further than 12 furlongs.
It was still quite a good performance, and the second horse is being supplemented.
“He’d had a break after Ascot, because that was a hard race.
Of course, Deauville was an important race, but it was a preparation race.
He still ran quite well – but it was not perfect.
With rain around in France this week there is a chance there will be some cut in the ground, without it being too soft – but that will not hinder Nagano Gold.
“He handles soft ground but has never run on really heavy ground.
He has no problem on good or soft – he should be fine, whatever it is,” said Janda.
“If he’s still healthy the plan is that he’ll stay in training next year.
He’s never taken a bad step, so hopefully he can win some nice races.
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