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O'Brien's Magician can spring King George surprise

MAGICIAN can spring a minor surprise and bounce back to his very best with victory in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.

Despite being the top-rated horse in the field, he comes into the race a little under the radar as much of the attention is focused upon Hardwicke Stakes victor Telescope and Oaks winner Taghrooda, both of whom hold excellent claims.

Magician has not quite hit the expected heights so far this term, with Aidan O'Brien clearly anticipating plenty from a colt who won the Breeders' Cup Turf at the end of last year.

Nothing went right for him in the Sheema Classic at Meydan in March, while he failed to really sparkle when narrowly defeating Parish Hall in a Curragh Group Three.

Heads were then down after Noble Mission beat him on very testing ground in the Tattersalls Gold Cup.

He put up a perfectly respectable show at Royal Ascot, though, finishing just under two lengths behind when second to The Fugue in the Prince of Wales's Stakes over what could well be a slightly inadequate 10-furlong trip. Magician just lacked the necessary extra gear when The Fugue challenged but that effort represented a return to something like his best form and a switch back up in trip can see the Galileo colt shine once more.

King Torus just sneaks into the Longines International Stakes at the bottom of the handicap and he can make good use of his comparative feather weight at long odds.

Osaila impressed when beating the colts at Doncaster recently and can strike Group Three gold in the Princess Margaret Juddmonte Stakes.

Danadana can finally score a first victory in 2014 in the Skybet York Stakes on the Knavesmire. Zalty just lost out in one of Ireland's most competitive sprint handicaps last time but compensation awaits in the Skybet Dash.

Athenian made a successful seasonal bow at Newmarket earlier this month and can follow up again for Sir Mark Prescott in the Adnams Ghost Ship Fillies' Handicap back at Headquarters. Tap Your Toes in the choice in the Bathwick Tyres Maiden Stakes at Salisbury.