Shakeel on the easy list

Zarak (r) could also take in the Arc

Plans remain fluid for Shakeel following his narrow defeat of Permian in the Grand Prix de Paris last Friday.

Alain de Royer-Dupre's colt was beaten on his first two starts in Pattern company, but raised his game to strike Group One gold on Bastille Day, denying Mark Johnston's Royal Ascot hero Permian by a nose.

As is the norm with horses in France, Shakeel is set to be given a short break in the height of summer before returning later in the season for a potential shot at the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

Georges Rimaud, manager of the Aga Khan Studs in France, said: "I don't think we necessarily expected Shakeel to win, but we expected to run well and to win was great.

"He's an improving horse. Alain felt he was an immature horse on his first couple of runs. He's still an immature horse, but he is improving in his work and on the track.

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"We'll take it easy with him now and aim towards an autumn campaign. Where he ends up depends on how much he improves.

"Normally we would look at an Arc trial, but we'll see how he is and where the other horses in the stable are going."

Shakeel is not the Aga Khan's only Arc contender, with his impeccably-bred stablemate Zarak also in mix.

As a son of Dubawi out of the unbeaten Arc heroine of 2008 Zarkava, the four-year-old recorded his first win at the highest level in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud earlier this month.

Rimaud added: "I think it was his time to win a Group One as he was unlucky in the Prix Ganay when the jockey lost his whip. He obviously likes Saint-Cloud and we are delighted with him.

"He is an important horse for us because of his pedigree and his potential as a stallion. Hopefully we can win more Group Ones with him.

"He is in a similar position to Shakeel. Whether he is a better horse, I don't know, but again we will give him some time and aim towards the autumn.

"Whether he goes for the Arc or other races, we will see."

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