Sport Horse Racing

Tuesday 16 January 2018

Soft ground leaves Kingman doubtful

JOHN GOSDEN is keeping a watching brief on the ground at Deauville and has yet to confirm Kingman a definite starter in today's Prix Jacques le Marois.

The Newmarket trainer walked the course before his Western Hymn finished fourth behind Gailo Chop in Friday's Deauville highlight, the Group Two Prix Guillaume D'Ornano.

His concerns about the going for superstar miler Kingman grew after an inch of rain fell during Thursday night, and jockey William Buick reported the ground to be testing after partnering Western Hymn.

Gosden said: "It's pretty terrible ground and he (Western Hymn) didn't like it at all."

Gosden's brilliant colt showed a blistering turn of foot to dispense with the classy Toronado when he took on older horses for the first time in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood less than three weeks ago. Also the winner of the St James's Palace Stakes, Kingman faces another big test in the summer showpiece at the Normandy venue.

Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to owner Khalid Abdullah, said: "We're going to look at the ground, but provided it's all right he'll run.

"He came out of the Goodwood race very well and it's been very straightforward since. He's done everything good. We couldn't be happier with him. This will be another test."

Peter Chapple-Hyam, meanwhile, is confident Arod is capable of making his presence felt in the Juddmonte International as the trainer chases a third victory in York's Group One feature on Wednesday.

Arod has not yet reached those heights, but was only narrowly beaten in the Dante Stakes over this course and distance earlier in the year and after running a fine race to finish fourth in the Derby, he gained a confidence-boosting victory in a Leicester 
conditions race last month. Chapple-Hyam said: "I am very happy with Arod. He did a nice bit of work on Thursday (at Newmarket's July Course).

"It is obviously going to be a very tough race, but he goes there with a chance and a mile and a quarter is his right trip."

"I love York. It is nice to go there with a chance. It is one of the best tracks - great fun and Yorkshire people come out in force."

Meanwhile, John Gosden's superstar filly Taghrooda is one of nine remaining possibles in Thursday's Darley Yorkshire Oaks.

Aidan O'Brien's Venus De Milo is the only other older horse remaining.

The three-year-old challenge is supplemented by O'Brien's Tapestry, a fast-finishing second in the Irish Oaks with Luca Cumani's Volume just behind, filling the same spot she filled at Epsom.

Richard Hannon's Lustrous and Tony Coyle's Lily Rules complete the list.

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