King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Sponsored by QIPCO) entries headed by Treve and Australia

ascotA mouth-watering clash between the most recent Arc and Derby winners could be on the cards for Europe’s mid-season middle-distance championship, the £1-million King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Sponsored by QIPCO) which takes place at Ascot on Saturday, July 26. Run over a mile and a half, the prestigious contest is sponsored by QIPCO for the first time in 2014 and also forms part of the QIPCO British Champions Series.

Treve (Criquette Head-Maarek) carried all before her in 2013, culminating with her tremendous success in the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in October. She lost her unbeaten record when narrowly denied by the evergreen Cirrus Des Aigles in the Prix Ganay and is set to race again a week today in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot. Head-Maarek recently revealed that the King George will be very much on the agenda for the four-year-old daughter of Motivator.

Three-year-old Australia (Aidan O’Brien) looks to be the horse of a lifetime, with his trainer believing the colt to be the best to have passed through his hands. He was victorious in Saturday’s Investec Derby at Epsom, when getting the better of Kingston Hill (Roger Varian) and Romsdal (John Gosden). The last Derby winner to go on to victory in the King George was Australia’s sire Galileo (also trained by O’Brien), who landed both races in 2001.

In addition to Australia, O’Brien could rely on two Classic winners from 2013, Investec Derby hero Ruler Of The World and St Leger victor Leading Light plus Breeders’ Cup Turf victor Magician, who are amongnine entries from Ireland’s champion trainer as he bids for a fourth King George success.

Owner Hamdan Al Maktoum won the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes with the great Nashwan in 1989 and has a strong hand this year with his four entries including the impressive Investec Oaks heroineTaghrooda (John Gosden) and Dubai World Cup runner-up Mukhadram (William Haggas).

Angus Gold, racing manager to Hamdan Al Maktoum, reported today: “The thought at the moment is to make a plan for Taghrooda at Ascot next week with Sheikh Hamdan and John Gosden.

“On the face of it, she seems to have come out of the Oaks fine. John (Gosden) always said the Irish Oaks would be next, but obviously we have the other filly Tarfasha (who finished runner-up in the Oaks). It’s just another option and we felt it would be safe to put Taghrooda in the King George just in case we have a change of heart.

“Certainly the trainer’s stated aim is the Irish Oaks, which obviously makes sense because that will keep her against her own sex and age group.

“It would be fun to try and take on the colts and I wouldn’t say we wouldn’t at some stage.

“Mukhadram is due to run in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot next week.

“I have no doubt that he would get 12 furlongs and I know William Haggas feels the same. Having said that, he is not short of speed and I wouldn’t say he needs to go 12 furlongs. But if we rode him the right way, I’m sure he would get it.

“The King George is certainly a possibility and I know William is very keen to run him in the King George.”

Trainer Sir Michael Stoute has won the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Sponsored by QIPCO) a joint-record five times and has four entries this time around headed by Gospel Choir, successful in the Group Two QIPCO Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket and the 14-furlong Group Two Yorkshire Cup.

Chris Richardson, Managing Director of Gospel Choir’s owners Cheveley Park Stud, commented: “The plan is to run Gospel Choir in the Hardwicke Stakes (12 furlongs) at Royal Ascot next week.

“We put him in the King George just to give us another option because the weather is a bit uncertain and he needs fast ground.

“He has been really well since his win at York. We always felt that the trip would suit and Ryan (Moore) was very happy with the horse.

“His performances at three indicated that he was talented and we always felt he could develop into a high-class horse, but it was just a shame we lost a year last year.

“He was a heavy horse, so we gelded him and that has probably been the making of him.

“We will take it step by step with him and hopefully he will run a nice race at Ascot next week.”

Stoute’s other possible starters are the 2013 King Edward VII Stakes scorer Hillstar, Lingfied Derby Trial winner Snow Sky and Telescope, who won the Group Two Great Voltigeur Stakes last season.

The late Sir Henry Cecil won the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes three times and his widow Jane has a contender in 2013 with Frankel’s half-brother Noble Mission, who recorded his first Group One victory on his latest start in the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh.

Godolphin has enjoyed four victories in the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes, most recently with Doyen in 2004. Its two entries this year are last year’s Irish Derby winner Trading Leather (Jim Bolger) andTrue Story (Saeed bin Suroor).

The last two renewals of the King George VI &Queen Elizabeth Stakes have gone to horses trained in Germany, courtesy of Danedream (2012) and Novelist (2013). There are two entries hailing from Germany in 2014, Ivanhowe (Jean-Pierre Carvalho), a dual Group Two winner at Cologne and Wild Chief (Jens Hirschberger), who stayed on to take fourth in the Prix Du Jockey Club at Chantilly last time out.

There are 35 entries this year, six more than received in 2013.

There is scratchings stage for the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Sponsored by QIPCO) on July 8, with the five-day confirmation stage on July 21. There is also a £75,000 supplementary entry stage on July 21.

 The King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Sponsored by QIPCO)

£1,000,000 total prize fund, Group One, part of the British Champions Series. Ascot, Saturday, July 26, 2014. 1m 4f, for three-year-olds and upwards. Weights: three-year-old colts and geldings 8st 9lb, fillies 8st 6lb; four-year-olds and upwards colts and geldings 9st 7lb, fillies 9st 4lb; southern hemisphere allowance 4lb. Entries closed June 10, entries revealed June 11 (35 entries), scratchings deadline July 8, five-day confirmation & £75,000 supplementary entry stage July 21, final declarations 10am Thursday, July 24.

 

Horse

Age

Owner Trainer
ADELAIDE (IRE)

3

Derrick Smith, Sue Magnier & Michael Tabor Aidan O’Brien IRE
AMBIVALENT (IRE)

5

Ali Saeed Roger Varian
AUSTRALIA

3

Derrick Smith/Sue Magnier/Michael Tabor/Tao Ah Khing Aidan O’Brien IRE
BROWN PANTHER

6

Andrew Black & Owen Promotions Limited Tom Dascombe
DANDINO

7

Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock Marco Botti
DUNADEN (FR)

8

Pearl Bloodstock Ltd Mikel Delzangles FR
EKTIHAAM (IRE)

5

Hamdan Al Maktoum Roger Varian
ELKAAYED (USA)

4

Hamdan Al Maktoum Roger Varian
EYE OF THE STORM (IRE)

4

Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Sue Magnier Aidan O’Brien IRE
FLINTSHIRE

4

Khalid Abdullah Andre Fabre FR
GEOFFREY CHAUCER (USA)

3

Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith Aidan O’Brien IRE
GOSPEL CHOIR

5

Cheveley Park Stud Sir Michael Stoute
HALL OF MIRRORS (IRE)

4

Derrick Smith, Sue Magnier & Michael Tabor Aidan O’Brien IRE
HARTNELL

3

Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum Mark Johnston
HILLSTAR

4

Sir Evelyn De Rothschild Sir Michael Stoute
IVANHOWE (GER)

4

Gestut Schlenderhan Jean-Pierre Carvalho GER
JUST THE JUDGE (IRE)

4

Qatar Racing Limited & Sangster Family Charles Hills
KINGFISHER (IRE)

3

Derrick Smith, Sue Magnier & Michael Tabor Aidan O’Brien IRE
KINGSTON HILL

3

Paul Smith Roger Varian
LEADING LIGHT (IRE)

4

Derrick Smith, Sue Magnier & Michael Tabor Aidan O’Brien IRE
LEITIR MOR (IRE)

4

Jackie Bolger Jim Bolger IRE
MAGICIAN (IRE)

4

Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Sue Magnier Aidan O’Brien IRE
MUKHADRAM

5

Hamdan Al Maktoum William Haggas
NOBLE MISSION

5

Khalid Abdullah Lady Cecil
PARISH HALL (IRE)

5

Jackie Bolger Jim Bolger IRE
ROMSDAL

3

H R H Princess Haya of Jordan John Gosden
RULER OF THE WORLD (IRE)

4

Al Shaqab Racing/Magnier/Tabor/Smith Aidan O’Brien IRE
SECRET GESTURE

4

Qatar Racing Ltd & Newsells Park Stud Ralph Beckett
SNOW SKY

3

Khalid Abdullah Sir Michael Stoute
TAGHROODA

3

Hamdan Al Maktoum John Gosden
TELESCOPE (IRE)

4

Highclere Thoroughbred Racing -Wavertree Sir Michael Stoute
TRADING LEATHER (IRE)

4

Godolphin Jim Bolger IRE
TREVE (FR)

4

Al Shaqab Racing Criquette Head-Maarek FR
TRUE STORY

3

Godolphin Saeed bin Suroor
WILD CHIEF (GER)

3

Stall Furstenhof Jens Hirschberger GER

35 entries

12 Irish-trained

3 French-trained

2 German-trained