John Quinn focused on Swnymor after Arc weekend

By Cornelius LysaghtBBC horse racing correspondent
John Quinn has trained a total of 458 flat race winners from his yard in Malton, North Yorkshire
John Quinn has trained a total of 458 flat race winners from his yard in Malton, North Yorkshire

The mood in a packed Gare du Nord the morning after Treve's repeat win in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe was almost tangibly upbeat.

A memorable result, combined with magnificent runs in defeat by leading British hopes Taghrooda and Kingston Hill, plus three successes in the 'undercard' races for the cross-channel raiders, ensured it.

A big dollop of the heady feel-good factor of Paris dressed up in the autumnal colours of brown and gold provided the icing on le gateau.

However, amidst the throng, Irish trainer John Quinn, an adopted Yorkshireman because of the location of his stables, was showing a good bit of British stiff upper lip as inquiries swirled about his horse The Wow Signal.

To many, the unbeaten winner of the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot, and of the Group One Prix Morny in Deauville, was the 'nap' selection to pay the expenses of Longchamp racecourse's big weekend.

He was looking to make it four out of four, racing in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere for two-year-old colts on Arc day.

Frankie Dettori riding The Wow Factor wins The Coventry Stakes
Frankie Dettori riding The Wow Factor wins The Coventry Stakes

Sent off 6-4 favourite under Frankie Dettori, The Wow Signal, a big-money purchase before Ascot by Sheikh Joaan al Thani's Al Shaqab Racing (same owner as Treve), led for a time, but ended up stone-cold last.

We chatted in the queue for security checks, and Quinn told me: "I suppose it's been a long year for him, unlike some he's been to all the big gigs, and he's off on a long holiday now, but his form is rock solid and he'll be back. We'll train him for the [2000] Guineas.

"I think it was a combination of the lengthy year and a bit of stress maybe."

And he agreed that finishing last is actually better than, say, 4th as you know the performance is too bad to be completely true rather than that the horse is probably not as good as was hoped.

John Quinn's "Big Race" winners
2014The Wow SignalCoventry Stakes (Group 2), Royal AscotCockney SparrowScottish Champion Hurdle (Grade 2), Ayr
2012Kashmir PeakSummit Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 2), DoncasterCountrywide FlameFighting Fifth Hurdle (Grade 1), NewcastleCountrywide FlameTriumph Hurdle (Grade 1), Cheltenham Festival
2011Royal BonsaiSummit Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 2), DoncasterRed DukeSuperlate Stakes (Group 2), NewmarketRecession ProofTrophy Hurdle (Grade 3), Newbury
2008Blythe KnightDiomed Stakes (Group 3), Epsom
2007Kings QuayElite Hurdle (Grade 2), WincantonBlythe KnightDiomed Stakes (Group 3), EpsomLeslingtaylorSwinton Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3), HaydockBlythe KnightTop Novices' Hurdle (Grade 2), Aintree
2006Crow WoodElite Hurdle, Wincanton

Subsequently, it also emerged that the son of stallion Starspangledbanner had provided a 'dirty scope' during a veterinary examination.

Now the Quinn string, based in Yorkshire's Malton racing centre, and an ever-growing player both in Flat races and over jumps, has to be philosophical and look forward.

And, split between the large fields and marathon distances of the Betfred Cesarewitch at Newmarket and Ireland's Cesarewitch at The Curragh, the team has much to look forward to on the first weekend following the Arc.

Well-backed Swnymor and Moidore, last year's 10th, take in the £250,000 Newmarket feature the day before Rutherglen travels to The Curragh, looking to take advantage of a featherweight in the Irish version worth 100,000 Euros.

Of soft ground-relishing Swnymor, fifth behind race favourite Quick Jack at Galway in July and technically weighted to turn the tables, Quinn said: "He ran really well at Galway, having been drawn wide [in the stalls] and he didn't get any luck in running.

"We might have run him before this Saturday, but the ground's been so dry until recently.

"He's well and I'm happy with him. Strictly on the formbook, Quick Jack can't beat him, but this is horse racing and things don't often work out like that.

"Moidore's got a decent chance too. He's only had his [rain-softened] ground once this year and he won that day at Newcastle; Rutherglen goes to Ireland in good fettle, but these are hard races to win."

That is obviously the case, but the recent rain at Newmarket combined with a very attractive weight are - dare I say - two big signals that we may all be saying "wow" after Swnymor's Cesarewitch challenge is completed.


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