Dartmouth (left): powered to victory at Royal Ascot last time out
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
By Justin O’Hanlon & David Baxter 8:05PM 17 JUL 2016
POSTPONED and Wings Of Desire were the horses for money in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes market on Sunday, with connections of possible supplementary entries Dartmouth and Hawkbill still mulling over whether to challenge for the £1.15 million showpiece at Ascot on Saturday.
Last year’s winner Postponed, who has not lost since that success, was cut to 1-2 (from 4-7) by several firms, while Coral went 8-15 (from 8-13.
Their spokesman David Stevens said: “With punters willing to back Postponed at odds-on, there is clearly plenty of confidence behind his bid for a second King George victory, and with current second favourite Hawkbill far from certain to be added to the Ascot field this week, it would be no surprise to see the favourite shorten further before Saturday.”
Derby fourth Wings Of Desire was also popular, with a handful of firms going 8-1 (from 10) as punters sniff around for horses at bigger prices to take on the hot favourite.
Eclipse winner Hawkbill might be more likely to contest the Juddmonte International or Qipco Irish Champion Stakes, but Godolphin’s chief executive John Ferguson left the door open for a possible £75,000 King George supplementary on Monday, saying: “The decision hasn’t been made yet. I think the Juddmonte is possibly more likely, although Sheikh Mohammed may decide otherwise.”
Dartmouth’s trainer Sir Michael Stoute said after saddling him to win the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot that connections “would see” about the King George, and the Queen’s racing manager John Warren said on Sunday: “We are going to decide tomorrow.”
Aidan O’Brien looks set to rely on Highland Reel in the Qipco-backed contest and said on Sunday: “At the minute we’re looking at Highland Reel. He ran well on soft ground at Ascot last time and came out of the race very well. We would be very happy if he got good ground next week.
“We have Sir Isaac Newton in the race as well but Highland Reel is what we’re looking at for now. Deauville won’t run, he’s having an easy week and wants a mile and a quarter on fast ground.”