Will Lattimore’s King George VI Preview
This year’s renewal has an open look to it now that John Gosden has confirmed that he will saddle a trio of vastly improving three-year-old’s . Here is a brief summary of the leading contenders.
Telescope: The Sir Michael Stoute-trained four-year-old colt, certainly bounced back to form when winning the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes in scintillating fashion by an easy seven lengths over this course and distance last time out. It’s worth mentioning that he was twice beaten fair and square by Noble Mission in his recent two starts but those efforts were on soft ground and the quicker conditions at Ascot were definitely more to his liking.There is no doubt that a sound surface is vital for this son of Galileo and looking at the advance weather forecast, he should get conditions to suit once again and will take the beating.
Taghrooda: A tremendous winner of the Epsom Oaks last month on only her third start and the decision by connections not to run her in last weekend’s Irish Oaks will certainly make things more difficult for Telescope.
I was very surprised to see her go off as big as 5/1 at Epsom, considering she was very impressive winning on her seasonal debut over 10f at Newmarket back in May. Like many of my colleagues from RacingFm, I was really sweet on her chances in the Oaks and couldn’t believe the s.p odds.
She is by far the best middle-distance filly we have seen this year, winning the Group 1 Classic by nearly four lengths and although three-year-old’s have not got a great record in this event, I feel Taghrooda looks a bit special and in receipt of 15lbs from her elders, she can hold her own.
Magician: The Aidan O’Brien-trained colt is slowly coming back to the form he showed as a three-year-old last season. He was a Winner of last year’s Irish 2,000 Guineas and finished the season off by winning the Breeder`s Cup Turf over in Santa Anita, getting the better of The Fugue close home. This campaign he is getting better with each run and his second-place finish in the Prince Of Wales Stakes over 10f here was definitely a step in the right direction, but he may just have place prospects once again.
Eagle Top: This son of Pivotal showed dramatic improvement when winning the King Edward VII Stakes over course and distance last time out and connections had no problem paying the £75k to supplement their exciting colt.
It was interesting that stable jockey William Buick had chosen to ride Eagle Top, even when his highly-regarded stable companion Western Hymn was an intended runner (later withdrawn) at Royal Ascot. Obviously he must have been working very well at home considering he was beaten in a handicap the time before. He showed a nice turn of pace and brushed aside a decent field to win very impressively and I’m sure there is more improvement still to come. In my opinion though, this is a big step-up in class and I would want more than 7/1 to get involved.
Flintshire; The Andre Fabre-trained colt will love the drying conditions and could be the dark horse of the contest. This time last year he was one of the favourite`s for the Prix Del L`Arc, but the soft ground scuppered his chances, eventually finishing a well beaten eight. He looked a bright prospect on good ground when winning 3-3 on the sounder surface. He made a respectable start to this campaign finishing second to the remarkable Cirrus Des Aigles on good ground in the Group 1 Coronation Cup at Epsom. He followed that up with a slightly disappointing effort in the Grand Prix De Saint-Cloud (the last two winners of this race have won the King George) last month, possibly the good to soft conditions went against him. If back to his best he could run into a place back on this quicker ground.
Mukhadram: Winner of the controversial Group 1 Coral Eclipse over 10f at Sandown last time out, the William Haggas-trained five-year-old is entitled to take his place but will certainly find things tougher here. The prominent racers set sedate fractions and had the race between them, the main contenders were poorly positioned throughout and could never land a blow. This will be his first try over 12f and I have doubts he will stay the trip looking through his pedigree and may struggle against more improving types.
Trading Leather: The Jim Bolger-trained colt has plenty of decent form to his name last year, winner of the Irish Derby, second in this race and followed that-up finishing runner-up to Declaration Of War in the Juddmonte Stakes at York. He hasn`t continued that respectable form this season, beaten at odds-on at Newmarket (although pulled very free) on his seasonal debut back in May and although he stepped-up on that effort finishing two lengths behind Mukhadram at Sandown last time out, I don’t think that form is good enough to be involved on Saturday.
Romsdal: A respectable effort finishing third behind Australia in the Epsom Derby last month, and although he could have improved since then, I will be surprised if he improves enough to trouble the main contenders at the top of the market. I could be wrong but I feel his main chance of landing a Group 1 this season could be the St.Leger at Doncaster in September.
A fascinating contest to look forward to and although three-year-old’s have a disappointing record in this event, my vote goes to the Epsom Oaks conqueror TAGHROODA, a filly I feel has a bit of class about her and the 15lb she receives from her elders may be too much for them to cope with.
2pts Win Taghrooda 3.50 Ascot (Saturday July 26th)
By Will Lattimore, 23/7/14
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