Cheltenham racehorse owner Robin Craddock aiming Royal Ascot hero Lethal Force at the Breeders' Cup
ROBIN Craddock is considering a crack at the top sprinters in the United States for his Horse of the Year contender Lethal Force.
Thrilled by the four-year-old's superb performances in Europe this summer, he said the $1 million Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint at Santa Anita on November 2 was among the Royal Ascot hero's potential big-money targets.
Closer to home, the £350,000 QIPCO British Champions Sprint on Champions Day at Ascot on October 19 is another option being mulled over by Craddock and his dad Alan, who own Lakes Bathrooms in Tewkesbury.
Both races look good opportunities for Lethal Force to add to his career earnings of £750,000, having been bought as a two-year-old by the Craddocks for 8,500 euros.
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Craddock said Lethal Force had been fine since suffering defeat by French speedster Moonlight Cloud in the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville last Sunday, but he is likely to be given a break by trainer Clive Cox in preparation for an autumn assault on more top sprints.
He added that the chances of Lethal Force heading to Australia for the Patinack Farm Classic at the Melbourne Cup Carnival in Australia on November 9, which had been muted as a possible target, now looked slim.
"I don't think we will be going to Australia," said Craddock.
"It's an awfully long way to go and the hoops you have to jump through in Australia are significantly more in terms of quarantine and things like that than in America, plus obviously it takes longer to get there.
"It would have been lovely to go to Australia, but in terms of what's best for the horse I think he'll probably have a little break now and we'll bring him back for possibly Champions Day at Ascot and/or possibly the Breeders' Cup Sprint, which is firmly on the radar.
"Whether we can do both is up for a little bit of debate."
Lethal Force moved into first place in the standings for the Cartier Horse of the Year Award, ahead of the likes of Dawn Approach, Sky Lantern and Al Kazeem, after finishing second to Moonlight Cloud.
Lethal Force and jockey Adam Kirby repeated the front-running tactics which worked successfully in the Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot and in the July Cup at Newmarket, but Moonlight Cloud swept past him in the final furlong to win the race for the third year in a row.
Craddock, who lives in Cheltenham, said: "The ground was just a little softer than he wanted and although Clive said it walked 'good' I think the going description was good-to-soft, so that's definitely as soft as we'd want it.
"But I don't want to use the ground as an excuse really, because we were beaten by an extremely good mare and she broke the track record, probably thanks to Lethal.
"The way he runs his races, he wears his heart on his sleeve and it's never going to be a slowly-run race with him in the field.
"Adam said afterwards that he was a little bit flat and he wasn't quite the same horse than ran at Newmarket, bearing in mind he broke the track record at Newmarket.
"He's never going to give himself an easy race because of the way he runs, because he's out in front he doesn't know what's coming from behind so you've got to keep on going.
"You certainly don't take a look behind in a Group One race over six furlongs to see if anything's coming.
"Adam said that going down to the start he was normally on his toes and looking at little birds going past, but this time he was a bit quieter and just didn't quite have that joie de vivre that he had at Newmarket."