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Colm's a giddy Cape crusader

Colm O'Donoghue is relishing the chance to ride Cape Blanco in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.

The mount on the Aidan O'Brien's Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby winner became available when regular partner Johnny Murtagh picked up a six-day suspension at Newmarket's July meeting.

Like Seamie Heffernan, O'Donoghue is a regular partner of second and third strings for O'Brien in the big races, and hit the Group One target last season on the stable's Jan Vermeer in the Criterium International at Saint-Cloud.

Impressive in the Dante Stakes at York when beating subsequent runaway Epsom Derby hero Workforce, Cape Blanco disappointed in the French Derby before bouncing back at the Curragh. The pair face a rematch, with Workforce the evens favourite and Cape Blanco available at 13/2 in a place.

A delighted O'Donoghue said: "I'm very much looking forward to riding the horse at the weekend. He's in very, very good form and I'd like to thank Aidan and the owners for the opportunity."

Olivier Peslier is in confident mood ahead of his ride aboard Harbinger. The French pilot received the call up after champion jockey Ryan Moore decided to stay loyal to record-breaking Derby winner Workforce.

Both are trained by Michael Stoute, who saddled an unprecedented one-two-three in the famous race 12 months ago with Conduit, Tartan Bearer and the Peslier-ridden Ask.

Peslier has a good record at the Berkshire venue with big-race wins on Goldikova, Vision D'Etat, Equiano and Ouija Board in recent years. "I've had good success for Sir Michael Stoute in the past and I think this year we have a good chance too," he said.

"I think he is the best horse this year and he is doing very well. I rode him on Saturday morning and he is very well. He gave me a good feel. I think he can go either way in the race, he's an easy horse to ride.

"I think he's my best ever chance of winning the race," added Peslier who has a good gauge on the form of the French challenger Daryakana, who has finished behind the Peslier-ridden Plumania twice this season.

"Daryakana will run very well. Last time at Saint-Cloud she finished very well in third. I won the race and Youmzain finished second but I think she was a bit unlucky as there wasn't much pace.

"I think Youmzain could run well because the race at Saint-Cloud was not run at a fast pace which he prefers. Workforce is a very nice horse but this is tough competition."


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