Godolphin's Royal Crusade in line for Group Three assignment in France

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Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby is considering a trip to France for his Champagne Stakes runner-up Royal Crusade.

Having justified odds-on favouritism when making a winning debut at Newmarket last month, the Shamardal colt was stepped up to Group Two level on Town Moor last week and ran a fine race to finish a neck second to Richard Hannon’s high-class juvenile Threat.

Appleby has always held Royal Crusade in high regard, admitting he shows far more on the Newmarket gallops than his illustrious stablemate Pinatubo.

Royal Crusade is set to be given another chance at Pattern level before the season is out, with the Group Three Prix Thomas Byron at Saint-Cloud on October 4 pencilled in as a potential target.

Appleby said: “Royal Crusade and Pinatubo are two different horses. Royal Crusade has a bit of presence about him and isn’t afraid to say it – he’s always been a good work horse.

“I wouldn’t have run him in a race like the Champagne Stakes off the back of one run if I didn’t think he was a good horse and he didn’t disgrace himself at all.

“He bumped into a good horse in Threat, who is obviously a bit more experienced than our horse and maybe a bit sharper as well, having finished second in the Coventry and won the Gimcrack over six furlongs.

“He has come out of the race well and we’ll probably give him one more run before the end of the season.

“I think the Somerville (Tattersalls Stakes) will probably come a bit too soon and we might take him to France for the Thomas Byron. He wouldn’t mind a bit of ease in the ground and hopefully he’s a nice horse going forward.”

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