Gosden happy with Ascot duo

John Gosden is happy with Jack Hobbs and Shalaa ahead of their tough assignments on QIPCO Champions Day.

Shalaa: Ready for the Qipco Champions Sprint on Saturday

The talented duo have missed much of the campaign with Shalaa running just once, at Ascot two weeks ago, while Jack Hobbs hasn't been seen since pulling up on his sole start at Newmarket in April.

Gosden has had to be patient with the pair of them, and he's happy with Jack Hobbs' current well-being despite having had no match practice since the early weeks of the season.

"He's in great form," Gosden said of Jack Hobbs ahead of the QIPCO Champion Stakes, a race in which he was third last year.

"The field is not only deep but very strong so we're not under any illusions. I thought Almanzor's win in the Irish Champion Stakes was the best of any horse this year.

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"He's strengthened well and he's had time to develop so strangely enough I think the time off has benefited him.

"He's not the type that's ring rusty, but we're aware we're coming back in an exciting renewal of the race."

Shalaa has had a more recent run, as he made a successful return in the John Guest Bengough Stakes at Ascot on October 1, his first start in over a year.

The Invincible Spirit colt was a star juvenile, winning five times including the Group One Prix Morny and Middle Park Stakes, and Gosden is hoping for plenty of improvement on Saturday.

"He probably went into it 80 per cent fit," Gosden said of Shalaa's return.

"I've been happy with him since, we'll do a little breeze with Frankie on him tomorrow [Tuesday].

"I think he's retained all of his ability and he's ready to run a great race in what is a fabulous sprint."

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