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Flying filly Taghrooda storms to King George success

Tom Peacock

Published 26/07/2014 | 16:45

Taghrooda ridden by Paul Hanagan wins the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth stakes during the King George Day - Saturday at Ascot Racecourse
Taghrooda ridden by Paul Hanagan wins the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth stakes during the King George Day - Saturday at Ascot Racecourse

Taghrooda struck for the younger generation when beating a stellar field in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.

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The Investec Oaks winner maintained her unbeaten record as the filly swept past Telescope and Mukhadram to land the high-summer showpiece in convincing fashion.

Taghrooda (7-2), trained by John Gosden and ridden by Paul Hanagan, won by an impressive three lengths from 5-2 favourite Telescope, with Mukhadram (12-1) just a short head away in third.

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."

Leitir Mor, the complete outsider of the eight-strong field, made the running until he was overtaken by the pack, headed by Telescope and Mukhadram, on the home turn.

Hardwicke Stakes winner Telescope and Coral-Eclipse scorer Mukhadram, wearing the Taghrooda colours of owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, tried to steal a march, but they could not see off the attentions of the Classic heroine.

The daughter of Sea The Stars surged past the pair and put the race to bed within a matter of strides to vindicate her owner's decision to bypass last weekend's Irish Oaks.

Taghrooda is only the second filly after Pawneese in 1976 to complete the Epsom Oaks-King George double in the same season.

Hanagan said: "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."

Gosden said: "It was a special performance and I'm very glad Sheikh Hamdan made the correct decision.

"I thought it was a bold and good plan. I thought it was a bit defensive going for the other race (Irish Oaks) - I think Sheikh Hamdan will place all of my horses now.

"I'm absolutely thrilled and it was a great ride. I couldn't have been more pleased with her."

Taghrooda was cut to around 7-1 to follow in the hoofprints of her sire by winning the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp.

Gosden said: "It (the Arc) would make some sense, but it's entirely up to the owner."

Angus Gold, racing manager for Sheikh Hamdan, highlighted Taghrooda's temperament as being a key attribute to her profile.

He said: "She's always shown us in her races that she's an extra-talented filly, but you never know until you pitch them in at the deep end.

"She's blessed with that wonderful attitude - nothing troubles her."

Gosden also suggested that Taghrooda may first head for the Yorkshire Oaks on August 21 before crossing the Channel.

He said: "She had to show a great attitude and she's been a lovely filly to train. She'll handle most grounds so we'll see.

"Races like the Yorkshire Oaks and then the Arc - that's probably a nice pattern for her."

Connections of Telescope accepted the colt had been defeated by a special horse.

Harry Herbert, racing manager for owners Highclere Thoroughbred Racing, said: "She's a really special filly, and we've run a terrific race.

"There are no complaints - we've seriously bumped into one.

"It's obviously disappointing not to win, but if I said that I was standing here having finished second in the King George and it was all depressing, I'd be lying.

"It was a joy to watch a filly as good as that."

Mukhadram may join Taghrooda at York's Ebor festival next month.

Trainer William Haggas said: "We've run really well again. It looks like he got the trip, and I was as proud as punch.

"I'd say he'll go to the Juddmonte (International), why not?"

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