Kevin Ryan planning Maurice de Gheest defence for Brando

Brando (noseband) found only US Navy Flag too good in the July Cup

Kevin Ryan was left thinking what might have been after Brando’s courageous run in the Darley July Cup last Saturday.

The six-year-old was placed in the race for the second successive year, once again proving his effectiveness at Newmarket.

He will now attempt to retain his Prix Maurice de Gheest title at Deauville, with Champions Day at Ascot also in the mix.

“He’s come out of it great, not a bother on him,” said Ryan.

“I don’t know what it is about Newmarket that he loves, for a big horse he handles going downhill very well.

“I’d have just preferred him to have been in the larger group. I know the winner (US Navy Flag) made it and stayed on really well, but if we’d have got a lead for longer, we might have been able to delay our challenge.

“He used to really love soft ground, but as he’s got older he’s able to handle quicker ground much better. He’s a typical Piccolo really, I’ve had a few like that.

“We’ll go to France next for the Maurice de Gheest again, and then we’ll think about Ascot on Champions Day again.

“We’ll have to have another crack at the July Cup next year.”