The Breeders' Cup Turf may have gained an additional starter but lost a contender as a result of Saturday's Dubai Champion Stakes (Eng-I) at Newmarket, England.
The Aga Khan's Kalanisi won a duel with 10-11 favorite Montjeu (by Sadler's Wells) to win the 1 1/4-mile race by a half-length, with Distant Music (by Distant View) third. With the victory, jockey Johnny Murtagh accounted for his ninth group I win of the year and his first victory this year at Newmarket.
Winning trainer Sir Michael Stoute said the outcome was in doubt when Kalanisi was challenged by Montjeu, who was seeking to return to the winner's circle after a fourth-place effort in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. "There was a slight moment of worry when Montjeu loomed up, but I knew our fella was in great shape. He's a thoroughly admirable horse."
Stoute said the Breeders' Cup and the Japan Cup are possible options for the winner, a 4-year-old son of Doyoun.
Meanwhile, trainer John Hammond was non-committal about a Breeders' Cup berth for Montjeu, noting retirement could be in the cards. The trainer told Sporting Life
that "The horse has had a wonderful career, but you'd have to say he hasn't fired today as he was on his good days. He'll go home tonight and then we'll see what everybody wants to do."
Although owner Michael Tabor indicated he would still like to give the colt a shot at the Breeders' Cup, he said a final decision would be up to the trainer.