sport

Wohler targets British prizes

Andreas Wohler is hatching a plan to capture one of the highlights of the QIPCO British Champions Series from his yard in Germany.

Wohler's four-year-old colt, Chopin, returns to Britain this weekend to take his chance in the second leg of the mile division, the JLT Lockinge Stakes.

The prestige of the contest is clearly not lost on the handler, whose office is surrounded by depictions of British racing's most iconic scenes.

One such piece of art shows Epsom Downs on Derby day, and it was in the premier Classic that his son of Santiago first made an appearance on a British racecourse in the famous silks of Qatar Racing Limited.

His charge could only manage seventh on that occasion and that was followed up by a below-par display at Royal Ascot, but Wohler believes there are plenty of positives to be taken from his efforts in this country last year.

Chopin returned to action with a second place at Dusseldorf last month and Wohler is looking forward to his Newbury trip.

He said: "We were happy with Chopin's run at Epsom as he was only beaten by three and three-quarter lengths and he travelled nicely before weakening.

"It is probably best to forget his effort at Royal Ascot as the ground was too fast for him and that is why he was off for such a long time after.

"The Derby probably showed us that a mile is his trip, though, and we are looking forward to the Lockinge.

"After such a long break his second at Dusseldorf was pleasing and we expect him to improve a good deal for that."

Wohler has previously stated drying ground conditions may be a concern, though, and the same would be the case if Altano returns to take his chance in the Ascot Gold Cup.

The son of Galileo made an impression in the long-distance division last year when fifth behind Estimate before improving on that when chasing home Brown Panther to finish third in the Goodwood Cup.

Those efforts were surpassed, however, when he won the Group One Prix du Cadran on Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe day by two and a half lengths.

The eight-year-old marked his seasonal return with victory in a German Group Three - his third consecutive win in the race - and sights are now firmly set on Royal Ascot.

He said: "The crowd went crazy at Hoppegarten when he won again this year and he seems a really popular horse.

"The more the rain that falls, the better his chances are. He heads straight to Ascot after winning on Sunday and we're very happy with him."