Shalaa pencilled in for Ascot return

Shalaa is set to make his eagerly-awaited return to action in the John Guest Bengough Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.

Shalaa: A 'special' horse according to connections

The John Gosden-trained colt won five of his six juvenile starts last season, culminating in successive Group One triumphs in the Prix Morny at Deauville and the Middle Park at Newmarket.

He has not been seen in competitive action so far this year after suffering a pelvic injury earlier in the campaign, but is ready to make his comeback a fortnight ahead of an intended appearance in the Qipco British Champions Sprint.

Harry Herbert, racing manager for owners Al Shaqab Racing, said: "He's due to run on Saturday and it will be very exciting to see him back on the racecourse.

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"It would have been a very big ask to run him on Champions Day without having had a run beforehand. I think it's a good sign John is keen to run him. I know he's very happy with the horse.

"I'm sure whatever he does he'll improve, but hopefully he'll run very well and it will leave him spot-on for a fortnight later.

"He's in very good form and looks fantastic.

"There are no easy races, but he's a special horse."

Shalaa's potential rivals in this weekend's six-furlong Group Three include David O'Meara's high-class sprinter Suedois, multiple Group One winner Sole Power and the prolific Gravity Flow from William Haggas' yard.

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