Maarek focus turn to Ascot

Trainer Evanna McCutcheon feels the fire still burns brightly in stable stalwart Maarek ahead of a likely appearance at Ascot on Champions Day.

Ascot is still on the agenda for Maarek

The nine-year-old claimed Group One glory in the Prix de l'Abbaye three years ago and returned to Paris in a bid to regain the five-furlong prize last Sunday.

However, after a tardy start Maarek was unable to make an impact, finishing 12th of the 17 runners.

McCutcheon said: "He was only beaten just over five lengths in a Group One and Seamie (Heffernan) said he was as enthusiastic as ever.

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"The problem we're having with him is he's acting up a bit in stalls again. It's not a stress thing, it's just him taking the mick.

"The hood worked for a while, but he seems to have worked that out now and he thinks he's playing a game. That's just him.

"We'll have to have play around a bit and see what we can do. We have thought about using earplugs, but I'm not sure they would help him during the race.

"We'll try and teach him a new trick and I think there's plenty of life in the old dog yet.

"He's entered at Ascot (Qipco British Champions Sprint) and I think we might as well go there. There's no reason not to.

"He's probably better over six (furlongs) these days, but he wouldn't want the ground too deep over six."

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