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King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes preview

KING GEORGE VI AND QUEEN ELIZABETH STAKES
(3:50 ASCOT – SATURDAY 26TH JULY 2014)

by Sam Preen, @sampreen, originally published here

Running through the field:

Leitir Mor
Form; 9-6825. Jockey; Ronan Whelan. Trainer; Jim Bolger.

Only has two wins to date, both times in Group 3 company, but has been the shadow of his former self since then. Ran a personal best for some time in a Listed event in June, and kept on to finish a fair fifth in a Group 3 a week later. Needs a personal best if he’s to hit the frame upped in class and trip. Presumably only here for pacemaking duties for Trading Leather.

Magician
Form; 1-6122. Jockey; Joseph O’Brien. Trainer; Aidan O’Brien.

Bidding to get back into the winners enclosure is Magician, who flopped when favourite in less than ideal ground at the Curragh, before finishing behind The Fugue at Royal Ascot, sporting a tongue tie for the first time. Previously won over this trip, and has the ideal ground, so no surprise to see him running a big race.

Mukhadram
Form; 15-241. Jockey; Dane O’Neill. Trainer; William Haggas.

Yet to win in four starts at Ascot, but was a different horse when routing his rivals at Sandown in the Coral-Eclipse (Trading Leather second). Though he’s not run beyond 10 furlongs, he’ll have the ideal ground, providing we’re not hit with rain of biblical proportion, and although his Ascot record is slightly offputting, he warrants respect on the back of his Sandown effort. Regular partner Hanagan prefers Taghrooda.

Telescope
Form; 21-221. Jockey; Ryan Moore. Trainer; Sir Michael Stoute.

Twice turned over by Noble Mission on soft this season, but got back in the winners enclosure when smashing his rivals over course and distance in the Hardwicke on his ideal firm ground. Steps into the unknown on his first (belated) start at the highest level, but warrants plenty of respect with conditions to suit.

Trading Leather
Form; 223-32. Jockey; Kevin Manning. Trainer; Jim Bolger.

Racked up a string of places after landing last year’s Irish Derby, most recently when finishing runner up to Mukhadram in the Coral-Eclipse last time out. Was no match for Novellist when he was runner up in this last year, but following his gutsy effort at Sandown, and the step back up in trip to 12 furlongs, he looks a tasty each way chance.

Eagle Top
Form; 141. Jockey; William Buick. Trainer; John Gosden.

Brightening up punters on Monday was the news that the King Edward VII winner Eagle Top had been supplemented for this race. The course and distance winner smashed his rivals with breathtaking ease at the Royal meeting, and it’d be of no great surprise to see the lightly raced colt running a huge race if he can repeat his last run.

Romsdal
Form; 3123. Jockey; Unknown. Trainer; John Gosden.

Winless since landing a Kempton maiden, he’s ran some awesome races in defeat, and followed up his nose second at Chester to finish four and a half lengths behind Australia in the Epsom Derby. Notably, he beat Western Hymn (who finished sixth), who went onto land a Group 2 last weekend. Certainly warrants respect on firmer ground on the back of his Derby run, but looks likely to struggle against some more experienced, high class sorts.

Taghrooda
Form; 1-11. Jockey; Paul Hanagan. Trainer; John Gosden.

Connections will be hoping that Taghrooda will get her head in front, as they opted against doing the English-Irish Oaks double. Visually and physically impressive in all three of her starts to date, she’s been off since winning the English Oaks last month, but came in for heavy support before the Irish Oaks before connections opted to send her here instead. Paul Hanagan has obviously sided with her over Hamdan’s other runner, and getting weight from older rivals, that should see her running another huge race.

Conclusion: Certainly a wide open race at first glance. Classic winner Taghrooda warrants plenty of respect facing the boys for the first time, as does Telescope, who finally dips his toe/hoof into Group 1 company for the first time, but preference would be for EAGLE TOP. He smashed his rivals over course and distance on his last start, and providing that wasn’t a one off, a big run should be on the cards and looks a nice bet if you’re looking away from the market leaders. Starting to get more places than Forpady is last year’s runner up, Trading Leather. Though unlikely to reverse placings with Mukhadram, the step back up in trip can suit, and can still be backed at a tasty each way price.

Eagle Top @ 7/1
Trading Leather @ 12/1


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