Beckett leans towards Cup option

Ralph Beckett is leaning towards running Simple Verse in the QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup at Ascot on Saturday.

Simple Verse: Could step up in trip at Ascot

The Duke Of Marmalade filly returned to winning ways in the DFS Park Hill Stakes at Doncaster last time – her first go at a trip in excess of a mile and a half since she won the St Leger last year.

Her other option on Saturday is the QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes over a mile and a half, but Beckett feels he may step the four-year-old up in trip to two miles for the first time.

He said: "At the moment I'd probably lean towards the Long Distance Cup, just because I think her optimum distance is further than a mile and a half.

"Obviously she'll have to take on the colts and geldings but she gets a weight allowance and I'm not so worried about that.

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"We'll wait until declaration time and look at the ground and weather before deciding."

Aidan O'Brien's Order Of St George heads the betting at even money with Sky Bet following his Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe third and David Simcock, who runs Doncaster Cup winner Sheikhzayedroad, feels the Ascot Gold Cup winner will be tough to beat.

"I think the whole race revolves around one horse," said Simcock. "If Order Of St George turns up he'll take a lot of beating."

Simcock, though, is happy with Sheikzayedroad ahead of Saturday.

The seven-year-old finished third in the Ascot Gold Cup and then third in the Goodwood Cup before his hard-fought victory on Town Moor last time, where he beat subsequent Prix du Cadran winner Quest For More, who could also run at Ascot, by a nose.

"He's a very straightforward horse to train, he'll turn up fit and well on the day and run a good race," said Simcock.

"We consciously made a plan last year we'd go over the two mile route, took in all the Cup races and he's been very consistent. He's fully entitled to take his chance here."

There are 14 entries in total and Trip To Paris, winner of the 2015 Gold Cup, could also run along with the likes of Pallasator and Forgotten Rules.

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