The Gurkha streaks to victory in the Poule d’Essai des Poulains
By Peter Scargill 6:30PM 9 JUN 2016
RYAN MOORE has nominated The Gurkha as his best chance of a winner at Royal Ascot next week as he seeks to emulate his modern-day record of nine winners at last year’s meeting.
The Gurkha, the 13-8 favourite, is set to line up in Group 1 St James’s Palace Stakes on Tuesday, one of the most eagerly awaited races at Royal Ascot given the winners of the French, Irish and British 2,000 Guineas are going head-to-head.
The Gurkha stepped up from a maiden to score a hugely impressive win in the Poule d’Essai des Poulains last month and Moore believes the Aidan O’Brien-trained three-year-old has the capability to beat Newmarket hero Galileo Gold (9-2 for Ascot) and Curragh winner Awtaad (11-4 for Ascot).
Speaking at a Royal Ascot event in Newmarket on Thursday, Moore, who was in a terse mood from the start, said: “At the moment, I would say my best chance of success next week is with The Gurkha. Three Guineas winners take each other on in the St James’s Palace Stakes which should be very exciting. You have to respect all three of them.
“The ground will play a part and we have to wait and see. I think my mount The Gurkha should be able to handle both softer and faster ground.”
Dettori: I can be top jockey
Moore is the 1-3 favourite with Ladbrokes and Paddy Power to claim top jockey honours at Royal Ascot with Frankie Dettori second in the betting at 5-1 with Ladbrokes.
Dettori claimed three winners at the meeting last year and feels he can serve it up to Moore over the five days at Ascot, including on 2,000 Guineas winner Galileo Gold in the St James’s Palace Stakes.
Dettori said: “Everyone is excited about The Gurkha after what he did in France but my own Guineas winner is in tremendous shape. Awtaad is in there for what could be a sensational race and I’m keen to have another crack at turning the tables on him after what happened in Ireland.”
Speaking to Ladbrokes, Dettori added: “The more I talk about it the more I convince myself I’ve got a fighting chance next week! I grabbed three winners last year and hope to surpass that next week.”
Sunshine and showers
The going at Ascot was changed to good, good to firm in places from good on Thursday, and clerk of the course Chris Stickels is predicting sunshine and showers before the start of the meeting.
He said: “The Jet Stream is shifting unusually south at the moment, giving an unsettled forecast, which is rather unusual for June. It is not all doom and gloom though, with the forecast generally for sunshine and showers.
“Late Friday into Saturday is when we are due to see some change, with sunshine and showers forecast from thereon most days. We are not forecast huge volumes of rain and I wouldn’t expect it to rain every day although it could happen. It should be no more than two millimetres a day.”