The King of France
Kingman continued his magnificent reign with a trip to France to take the Group 1 Jacques Le Marois at Deauville for John Gosden and James Doyle. The brilliant 3yo, beaten only once in seven starts before today, was again too good for some talented rivals as he recorded his fourth Group 1 victory in a row.
The ground had been a worry over the weekend but having made a check this morning, connections were happy to let their Invincible Spirit colt take his chance in the prestigious contest, despite the ground being described as very soft. Having shown such impressive speed when winning the Sussex Stakes last time, Kingman was again called on to put the burners on after what was a muddling race pace-wise.
The lack of pace had been a slight problem at Goodwood and it was a bit like deja vu today, with none of the five runners keen to make the running. German raider Red Dubawi eventually went to the head of affairs but set a very steady pace under Eddy Hardouin. Drawn in stall one, Kingman was barely kicked out of the gate by Doyle as the pair tried to get cover from the start, which they did eventually, perching themselves in rear behind main market rival Olympic Glory.
The pace gradually began to increase inside the final 2 furlongs and Doyle made sure to get a clear run pulling his mount to the far side as he tried to quicken to challenge Olympic Glory and Anodin who had made their way to the front. The ground obviously had some affect however, with Kingman slightly struggling to get into rhythm making Doyle get out his whip to urge his partner forward.
Kingman eventually hit top gear and was under little pressure to hit the front, eventually rolling home a 2 1/2 length winner from Anodin, with Olympic Glory a further length back in third.
Doyle said: “It’s a shame they went so slowly early on because then it turned into a dash to the line.
“I wasn’t sure that he would be able to go and do his usual thing on the ground, but he was just the same Kingman when I asked him to pick up as he’s always been.”
Gosden added: “It was a 50-50 (to run) in my mind, and a very sporting gesture by the Prince.
“I didn’t think he was entirely in love with the ground – it was different to anything else he had faced – but he’s got a wonderful temperament and showed he can cope with anything.
“It was a muddling pace, and James kept wondering when they were going to quicken it up. You had to be impressed with the way he went and won his race – the good thing was that he completely switched off.
“The plan is now the QEII (Ascot, October 18), which has always been his end-of-year objective.”
By Kevin Walsh 17/8/14
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