Taghrooda is the King George heroine
Taghrooda put in a special performance to take the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot, becoming the first filly to win the race since Pawneese back in 1976.
The brilliant daughter of Sea The Stars, an impressive winner of the Investec Oaks earlier in the season, was diverted by connections from the Irish equivalent to line up against the boys and her elders today and it was a decision well made, as she stretched her unbeaten record to four with a display far beyond her tentative years.
Receiving over a stone from her talented older rivals was obviously a big factor but the brilliant performance suggests that there might not have been much difference even running off of level weights. One of three John Gosden trained representatives in the valuable Group 1, Taghrooda was partnered by Paul Hanagan, who made the choice of the filly over recent Eclipse winner Mukhadram.
Hanagan was confident to allow his mount to settle out in the rear of the field that was being dragged along at a generous pace by pacemaker Leitir Mor. Turning for home the field as a whole were still travelling well, with Mukhadram and the 5/2 favourite Telescope eventually moving to the head of affairs as Leitir Mor’s effort began to fade.
The pair became embroiled in a battle as the two pole approached but they could not have been aware of the strong travelling Taghrooda in behind who was readily eating up the ground on her older rivals. The filly would eventually arrive upsides entering the final furlong and having eyeballed Telescope and Ryan Moore on the outside, kicked clear to score by a going away 3 lengths. Telescope finished second, with the dogged Mukhadram just a short-head back in third.
Taghrooda was given quotes of 3/1 to 5/1 for the Arc in the aftermath of her stunning victory.
Hanagan said: “It’s such a buzz, something you never think would happen. I’m just so delighted for the whole team – a great job.
“They went hard and I didn’t plan to sit that far back, but you can only go as fast as you can and she adapted really well. If you take a look at her she’s hardly had a race – she’s so laid-back.”
A delighted Gosden added: “It’s a special performance and I’m very happy that Sheikh Hamdan made the correct decision to come here. It was a beautiful ride from Paul – they went very hard and he waited patiently and she has picked them up and shown her class in the last furlong.
“I thought it was a bold and brave plan to come here but I thought it would be defensive to go for the other race (Irish Oaks). You never know how the fillys’ form holds up but it was a great performance and a lovely ride. We couldn’t be happier.”
Looking towards a possible run in the Arc, Gosden said: “I think I will leave all my running plans up to Sheikh Hamdan after today but it would make sense.”
By Kevin Walsh / Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire
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