Friday 23 August 2019

Gosden insists Enable faces 'tall order' in King George bid

Trainer John Gosden. Photo: PA Wire
Trainer John Gosden. Photo: PA Wire
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

John Gosden reports stable star Enable to be in prime condition for Saturday's Group One King George VI And Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot but insists it will be "a tall order" for the wonder mare to prevail.

Enable is a red-hot 4/6 favourite after a pleasing return when landing the Coral-Eclipse but Gosden believes her odds are laughably short with Michael Stoute's Crystal Ocean (11/4), Aidan O'Brien's English Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck (6/1) and Roger Varian's Defoe (10/1) opposing.

"I see the betting industry has put her at a price at which they don't want anyone to be backing her. I'm sure the pricing of her is not realistic of her chances but of them trying to protect themselves, I suppose, if she does win," Gosden said of the dual Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe heroine.

"She won it as a three-year-old filly getting the weight (in 2017). It is a little different when you are older and you have the Derby winner coming at you getting the weight (8lb) and you have a wonderful old horse, Crystal Ocean, which ran a blinder in it last year and won the Prince of Wales, so this is no penalty kick.

"She was 85-90 per cent at Sandown and will have come on for the run. She's up for it, but I don't think it's the formality that is being indicated, although she is the best mile-and-a-half filly I've trained and it's pretty extraordinary what she has done."

O'Brien can also call on Magic Wand (33/1), Hunting Horn (80/1) and Norway (100/1) in a race which has an international flavour with Japanese raider Cheval Grand (25/1) engaged as is French trainer Andre Fabre with Waldgeist (20/1).

Meanwhile, it's all change at the Curragh as the home of Irish racing bids to make up for lost time with Leopardstown boss Pat Keogh set to commence his role as CEO, taking over from the outgoing Derek McGrath.

Keogh, who has overseen the fortunes of Leopardstown since 2011, is expected to balance both roles in the coming months before concentrating his attention solely on the Curragh once a full-time replacement is found at the Foxrock track.

Keogh faces a difficult task as Irish racing's flagship development - which came in over €16 million above budget and called on €36 million of public money - has significantly underwhelmed since its re-opening.

Attendances have been abysmal at the showpiece Guineas, Derby and Oaks meetings and Keogh will be tasked with steadying the ship with his official appointment yesterday likely to speed up the exit of McGrath, who had been mooted to stay until the season's end.

Elsewhere, there was sad news with William Haggas announcing that Arc runner-up Sea Of Class was put to sleep yesterday after taking a turn for the worse in her recovery from a career-ending bout of colic.

Irish Independent

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