Dartmouth 9/2 for Royal success in King George
David Metcalf | July 18, 2016
Dartmouth handed King George mission
The Queen’s colt Dartmouth has been supplemented for Saturday’s King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot at a cost of £75k and is 9/2 second favourite with Coral for the Group 1 showpiece over 1m 4f.
Trained by Sir Michael Stoute, the colt is unbeaten in three starts this season and produced a career best in the last of those when landing the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes over course and distance by a head from Highland Reel.
Dartmouth will be bidding to give Stoute a record breaking sixth win in the contest following the successes of Shergar (1981), Opera House (1993), Golan (2002), Conduit (2009), and Harbinger (2010).
The Queen has won the race named after her parents once before, with that success coming courtesy of Aureole way back in 1954.
Her racing manager John Warren said: “The horse is in exceptional form and the trainer has been delighted with his progress since Ascot.
“With that side of things going so well, we felt he was a worthy candidate. Olivier Peslier, who rode him to such good effect in the Hardwicke, will ride him once again so there is continuity on that front.”
Coral-Eclipse hero Hawkbill to bypass race
It was also confirmed today that Hawkbill will bypass the race and instead be targeted at next month’s Juddmonte International at York.
The Godolphin owned three-year-old landed the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown earlier this month to extend his unbeaten run to six, and connections raised the possibility of supplementing for the King George following that victory.
However, whilst trainer Charlie Appleby is pleased with the way Hawkbill has come out of the race, he feels it may be best to stick to 1m 2f at the time being rather than step up in trip.
Speaking on Godolphin’s website he said: “After consultation with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and John Ferguson, we have decided he will miss the King George and be saved for races over a mile and a quarter. The Juddmonte is the likely next target.”
Postponed hardens at head of market
Hawkbill had been seen as one of the main rivals to Postponed and his absence has resulted in last year’s winner hardening into 1/2 (from 8/15) with Coral.
The colt showed tremendous battling qualities to beat Eagle Top in the race 12 months ago when trained by Luca Cumani and has since won all four of his starts since joining Roger Varian.
In the last of those the five-year-old put in a stunning success in the Group 1 Coronation Cup at Epsom when forging clear to beat Found by 4 1/2 lengths.
It was an awesome display and one which sets a clear standard and very much makes Postponed the one to beat.
Highland Reel the big hope for O’Brien
Leading Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien has won the race on three occasions and Highland Reel looks his main hope in the Qipco-backed contest and is a 7/1 shot with Coral.
The four-year-old ran a blinder when just touched off by Dartmouth in the Hardwicke on soft ground and the Ballydoyle handler heels quicker going will be in his favour.
Highland Reel already has two Group 1 successes to his name and finished 4 1/4 lengths behind Postponed when fourth in the Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan back in March.