Horse racing News Monday 10th July 2017

Criquette Head-Maarek will look for a suitable race for Girdys Gee Gees Dirty Dozen member National Defense after she had to scrap plans to run him over the weekend. The son of Invincible Spirit met with a slight setback when being prepared for the Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly, and his trainer will scour the programme book for Deauville's big summer meetings. Head-Maarek also has the Prix du Moulin at Longchamp in mind for him in September. "He's OK, but he had a little setback. He was stiff for a week so I couldn't run him," said the Chantilly trainer. "He's fine and he might go to Deauville, but he won't go for the Jacques le Marois. That would be too difficult. He's OK now and I will see if I can find a race for him at Deauville, or if not the Prix du Moulin would be his race." Winner of the Group One Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere as a two-year-old, National Defense has not raced since disappointing in the French 2000 Guineas at Deauville in May.

Magical Memory will skip Saturday's Darley July Cup in favour of the Group Three Bet365 Hackwood Stakes at Newbury later this month. The five-year-old bounced back to form after a lacklustre Royal Ascot run with victory in a conditions event at Haydock on Saturday, tipped on here, but owner Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds has decided not to make a swift return in Group One company this weekend. Magical Memory will instead line up at Newbury on 22nd July for trainer Charlie Hills. The owner tweeted: "Magical Memory has come out of the July Cup this morning. He goes for the Group Three Hackwood at Newbury next."

Zelzal will make his first start outside of France in next month's Qatar Sussex Stakes at Goodwood. The Jean-Claude Rouget trained four-year-old will bid to claim his second Group One success - and first victory since landing last year's Prix Jean Prat - in the mile prize. Having ended the previous campaign with a third in the Prix du Moulin, the son of Sea The Stars finished second on his return in a Group Three at Chantilly last month. Harry Herbert, racing manager to owners Al Shaqab Racing, said: "He is reported to be in great form and I think it's always been Jean-Claude Rouget's intention to run him in the Sussex Stakes. The horse showed his well-being and ran very well last time. We were very pleased with him as he had been off for a long time and that would have sharpened him up. Some people might have expected him to sluice up first time out, but Jean-Claude was adamant it was a nice reintroduction. Obviously he has got to come on a fair bit again, but he is held in high regard by Jean-Claude and it will be exciting to see him in a race like the Sussex Stakes. The reason he was so slow to come out was because of the virus that went through Jean-Claude's yard. Thankfully he was one of the first to get it and it didn't affect him. It is a relief that he is fine and well, he is a very good horse and it will be fantastic to see him at Goodwood against those that have led the way so far this campaign.”