Andre Fabre refuses to rule out involvement at the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe with Persian King


Andre Fabre refuses to rule out involvement at the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe after Persian King lands the Group One Prix du Moulin

  • Andre Fabre hints Persian King could be involved at Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe
  • Persian King landed the Group One Prix du Moulin by a length from Pinatubo 
  • Second place for Charlie Appleby-trained Pinatubo was very frustrating 
  • Jockey James Doyle must now enter quarantine and will miss St Leger meeting 

Trainer Andre Fabre left the door open for an audacious bid at the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe next month with Persian King after the colt landed the Group One Prix du Moulin by a length from Pinatubo.

Fabre, the most successful trainer in Arc history with eight wins including last year with Waldgeist, would be asking Persian King to step up to a mile and a half from Sunday’s race distance of a mile if Persian King pitches up against Enable and Love in the Arc on October 4.

Fabre said: ‘I don’t think it was because of strategy – the best horse on the day won. We have different options, one is the Champion Stakes at Ascot and another is the Arc. I think he can step back up in distance and we will see closer to the time which way we go.’

Trainer Andre Fabre left the door open for an audacious bid at the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe next month with Persian King

Ladbrokes make Persian King a 20-1 shot for the Arc.

Persian King has always been a top performer. Winner of last year’s French 2,000 Guineas and runner-up to Sottsass in the French Derby, the son of Kingman has won eight of his 12 races and the only time he has finished outside the first two was when fourth to John Gosden’s Palace Pier in last month’s Prix Jacques Le Marois at Deauville.

Second place for Charlie Appleby-trained Pinatubo in Sunday's race was very frustrating

Second place for Charlie Appleby-trained Pinatubo in Sunday’s race was very frustrating

Second place for Charlie Appleby-trained Pinatubo on Sunday was frustrating, not least for jockey James Doyle who must now enter quarantine and miss this week’s St Leger meeting at Doncaster.

Doyle was keen to be patient on a horse who has never won over as far as a mile but the way the race panned out, Pierre-Charles Boudot on Persian King had poached too much of an advantage for Pinatubo who flew home in the final furlong without suggesting he was an unlucky loser.

Jockey James Doyle must now enter quarantine and will miss this week's St Leger meeting

Jockey James Doyle must now enter quarantine and will miss this week’s St Leger meeting 

Pinatubo, last season’s outstanding two-year-old, has now run four sound races this season, being placed in four group one races over a mile with a sole win over seven furlongs in the Group One Prix Jean Prat.

Third on Sunday was Aidan O’Brien-trained Circus Maximus with Ger Lyons-trained Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Siskin fourth.



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Battaash wins King George Stakes for fourth successive year at Goodwood 


Battaash smashes his own track record to win King George Stakes for fourth successive year at Goodwood 

  • Battaash smashed his own course record at Goodwood on Friday
  • The 2-7 favourite won in 55.62 seconds, compared to the previous-best 56.20
  • He gave runner-up Glass Slippers 8lb and a two-and-a-quarter length beating

Battaash underlined his bullet-like reputation as he smashed his own course record to land a fourth King George Stakes easily and give racing a welcome lift.

The mood among the few present at a crowdless Glorious Goodwood understandably took a knock with the news that Saturday’s crowd test event had to be cancelled.

But the raw speed of the Charlie Hills-trained sprinter injected energy into the day and added to this difficult season’s uplifting efforts by the super six-year-olds following Tuesday’s Goodwood Cup win by Stradivarius and last Saturday’s King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes victory by Enable.

Battaash smashed his own course record to land a fourth King George Stakes at Goodwood

On paper, Battaash had nothing to fear from his six rivals and that is how it unfolded as he gave runner-up Glass Slippers 8lb and a two-and-a-quarter length beating.

Jim Crowley’s only problem was that nothing could match the Battaash dash as he led after two furlongs of the five-furlong race with the jockey claiming the Sheik Hamdan Al Maktoum-owned gelding was idling in the closing stages despite lowering the five-furlong track best by 0.58sec with a race time of 55.62sec.

Hills said: ‘He is a true athlete and has captured the imagination of the public. He has his quirks but you know where you stand with him.

‘As soon as he stops showing all his enthusiasm, that’s the day we will have to call it quits but hopefully that is a long way off.’ Battaash’s programme writes itself. Next up will be his fourth run in the Nunthorpe Stakes at York next month, a race he won last year, and then the Prix de L’Abbaye, which he won in 2017.

A repeat of the testing conditions in the race last year when Battaash was well beaten might make his team reluctant to head to France.

But one of the few alternatives is the Breeders’ Cup and Sheik Hamdan has shown a reluctance to send Baattash there.

Hills also won the Group Three Bonhams Thoroughbred Stakes with Tilsit, who beat badly hampered My Oberon one-and-a-half lengths. Winning jockey Ryan Moore picked up a five-day ban for careless riding.



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Battaash bids to follow Stradivarius into history books by winning fourth King George Stakes


Battaash bids to follow Stradivarius into history books by winning fourth King George Stakes at Goodwood

  • Sprint sensation bids to extend his flawless record in the King George Stakes
  • He arrives at Goodwood after landing the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot
  • Six rivals in race include the 2019 Prix de L’Abbaye winner Glass Slippers

The flying Battaash bids to extend his flawless record in the King George Stakes, with trainer Charlie Hills describing the race as a ‘home game’ for his sprinter. 

Some well-known sprinters have won the race twice, including Abernant and Right Boy, but Jim Crowley’s mount tries to win the five-furlong dash for the fourth consecutive year.

Hills said: ‘It’s his home track and suits his style. He handles the undulations which also suit his tactical speed so much.

Sprint sensation Battaash bids to win his fourth King George Stakes at Goodwood

‘You can let him roll down the hill in the middle of the race and he gets a lot of horses outside their comfort zones. He’s been training well.’

Battaash arrives at Goodwood having landed the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot for the first time.

Battaash’s six rivals include Glass Slippers, the Kevin Ryan-trained 2019 Prix de L’Abbaye winner, who receives 8lb.

But Crowley is full of confidence. The jockey said: ‘Battaash is the fastest horse I’ve ridden by far — he is the Batmobile. He is a very special horse that has become synonymous with Goodwood and it would mean the world to everyone involved if he can win the race for the fourth time.’



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Trainer Ed Walker hopes English King can banish Derby setback at Goodwood 


Trainer Ed Walker hopes English King can banish frustrations of Derby setback in the John Pearce Racing Gordon Stakes at Goodwood 

  • Frankie Dettori’s mount was one of the leading hopes for the Epsom Classic
  • But Walker was left wondering what might have been after fifth=placed finish 
  • English King will face Derby rivals Khalifa Sat, Mogul and Highland Chief

Trainer Ed Walker is hoping English King can banish the frustrations of his fifth place in the Derby when he tries to justify favouritism in the John Pearce Racing Gordon Stakes.

Frankie Dettori’s mount was one of the leading hopes for the Epsom Classic after winning the Lingfield Derby Trial impressively.

But Walker was left wondering what might have been as English King clocked the fastest time for the final three furlongs at Epsom after all-the-way winner Serpentine was allowed to poach an unassailable lead without over-exerting himself.

English King will seek to justify favouritism in the John Pearce Racing Gordon Stakes

Walker said: ‘English King came out of the Derby really well, much better than I’d hoped. I’d never had a runner in the Derby before and I envisaged it hitting a horse for six. The race wasn’t run at the normal tempo of a Derby.

‘I don’t think any of us expected the race to be run in the way it was.

‘It was a perfect storm of various factors, not just for English King but for a lot of horses in the race. It was just frustrating when you never felt you got a run for your money.’

The Gordon Stakes is a Derby reunion. Also in the line-up are Epsom runner-up Khalifa Sat, sixth Mogul and 10th Highland Chief.

For Al Aasy, winner of the Bahrain Trophy at Newmarket, and Glasgow Stakes winner Subjectivist the race is a St Leger trial but the final Classic of the season at Doncaster next month is not yet on English King’s agenda.

Walker added: ‘My gut feeling is that he is not a St Leger horse. He has a lot speed. For me it is more of a trial for the (Group One) Grand Prix de Paris than the St Leger.’



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Enable claims third King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes win at Ascot


Enable claims an unprecedented third victory in the third King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes win at Ascot

  • Enable has officially won King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes for third time
  • The racing star was the 4-9 favourite to win her third King George this weekend
  • Ridden by Frankie Dettori, Enable passed the post five and a half lengths ahead 

Enable produced another sparkling display to claim an unprecedented third victory in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes.

John Gosden’s superstar mare was narrowly denied in her bid to become the first three-time winner of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe last season – and has been kept in training as a six-year-old with the primary objective of putting that right in October.

However, she first had the chance to make history at Ascot, having become only the third dual King George winner – after Dahlia (1973 and 1974) and Swain (1997 and 1998) – when getting the better of a pulsating duel with Crystal Ocean 12 months ago.

Racing star, Enable has officially won King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes for third time

After delighting connections when finishing second behind Ghaiyyath on her reappearance in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown three weeks ago, Enable was the 4-9 favourite to claim her third King George – facing just two opponents in Aidan O’Brien’s pair of Japan and Sovereign.

Ridden by William Buick, last year’s surprise Irish Derby winner Sovereign cut out much of the running – opening up a significant advantage at one stage over Enable and Frankie Dettori and Japan under Ryan Moore.

However, it was clear rounding the home turn that the leader’s petrol tank was beginning to empty – while Dettori remained motionless aboard Enable and was even able to take a nonchalant look over his shoulder to see Japan toiling in behind.

Once given her head, Enable strode clear magnificently and passed the post five and a half lengths clear under her jubilant rider, with Sovereign filling the runner-up spot.

Gosden said: ‘With Anthony Van Dyck not there, it was obvious Sovereign would set a solid pace, not a mad one. Given Japan has won a Juddmonte International over 10 furlongs, he was always going to ride him to beat us for toe, but it went perfectly.

‘I’m always worried here when you get rain on quick ground, because they can lose their hind legs, but thankfully that didn’t happen.

‘Her work had been very good leading into this, and she was quite imperious today.

Ridden by Frankie Dettori, Enable passed the post five and a half lengths ahead of the rest

Ridden by Frankie Dettori, Enable passed the post five and a half lengths ahead of the rest

The racing star was the 4-9 favourite to win her third King George but faced competition from Aidan O'Brien's pair of Japan and Sovereign

The racing star was the 4-9 favourite to win her third King George but faced competition from Aidan O’Brien’s pair of Japan and Sovereign

‘It’s a pleasure to see when Frankie’s looking round, but if you do it too much you might fall off! She won it very nicely – I think he only gave her one flick.

‘As they get older, they get more professional and think once they are two or three lengths clear they can ease up, but you never know if another horse is coming.’

He added: ‘It was a small but elite field today. There aren’t that many about once Ghaiyyath elected to go to York, and the Oaks and Derby winners live at Ballydoyle. To that extent, the best were on show.

‘She trained really well for this. Last year Crystal Ocean was a hard nut to crack, and there was a certain Waldgeist in third, and we know what he went and did (won the Arc)

‘On the other hand, if she had won that day in France she wouldn’t have been here today.

‘I’d been very open that I let her come in her own time this year – she’s highly intelligent, she doesn’t need me to ask her too much, she brought herself here in top nick today.

‘Between her training herself and Frankie training her, sometimes there’s not much room for me!’

Enable looks likely to make her next appearance at next month’s Ebor Festival at York, before her bid for more history in Paris.

Gosden said: ‘York has always been on the agenda – there are two races (Juddmonte International and Yorkshire Oaks),and we’ll look at both, as we did last year.

‘York could be really exciting, with an exceptional Oaks winner (Love) heading there as well.



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Japan primed to wreck Enable’s bid to secure record third King George victory at Ascot


‘We always had it in our minds that this would be Japan’s first big target of the season: Aidan O’Brien’s star primed to wreck Enable’s bid to secure record third King George victory at Ascot

  • Enable will seek to secure record third King George victory at Ascot
  • O’Brien says Enable will have to overcome a Japan in peak condition on Saturday
  • Japan has always seemed the cream of O’Brien’s colt crop in a disrupted season

Aidan O’Brien says Enable will have to overcome a Japan in peak condition if she is to land an historic third King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes victory at Ascot on Saturday.

John Gosden has emphasised that Enable’s second place to Ghaiyyath in the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown sharpened her up for this afternoon’s Group One prize.

But O’Brien, who also saddles 2019 Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck and 2019 Irish Derby winner Sovereign in the four-runner contest, says the same applies to his No 1 hope Japan, who was a head behind Enable when third in the Eclipse.

Japan has always seemed the cream of Aidan O’Brien’s colt crop in a disrupted season

That run followed a below-par comeback when fourth to Lord North in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot. Japan was third in last year’s Derby, but always seemed the cream of O’Brien’s colt crop in a disrupted season. He won the Juddmonte International, the Grand Prix de Paris and was fourth in the Arc.

O’Brien said: ‘Everything in Japan’s two runs this year was about going to the King George. He got upset in the stalls and missed the break in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes. The race didn’t suit and he got a little tired.

‘Then he ran a great race in the Eclipse Stakes. We felt he was going to progress big time for it. Everything about his work since has been very good.

‘We always had it in our minds that this would be Japan’s first big target of the season.’

Aidan O’Brien says Enable will have to overcome a Japan in peak condition on Saturday

Aidan O’Brien says Enable will have to overcome a Japan in peak condition on Saturday 

Gosden’s assertion that the competitive fire still burns brightly within Enable was probably backed up by her Eclipse effort.

But he has warned not to expect fireworks from a six-year-old mare who is a more measured performer than the exuberant three-year-old filly who won her first King George in 2017 by a sparkling four-and-a-half lengths from Ulysses.

Her neck success from Crystal Ocean last year was a thriller but one in which she always looked in control, with Frankie Dettori only giving Enable one flick of his whip as he nursed her home.

A third Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe win at Longchamp in October is the big aim but success today would be a major milestone. It would not only elevate her above Swain and Dahlia — the two other dual King George winners — but mean she had won 11 Group One races, one more than Frankel.

Victory would also see Dettori move level with Lester Piggott on seven wins in the race.

O’Brien has run 19 different horses against Enable and never beaten her but now hopes his time has come.

Dismissing chatter that Ballydoyle’s strength in numbers may be a tactical advantage as a ‘load of nonsense’, he added: ‘It will be a great race to watch — Frankie on Enable and Ryan Moore on Japan. It is going to be one of the great matches at a great track. It’s what racing is all about.’



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John Gosden insists Enable is ‘back in the zone’ in bid to secure record third King George victory


John Gosden insists Enable is ‘back in the zone’ in bid to secure record third  King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes victory at Ascot

  • Trainer Gosden has not seen a drop in performance from the six-year-old mare
  • She faces Anthony Van Dyck, Japan and Sovereign, all trained by Aidan O’Brien
  • It is the smallest field since 1964 for King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes

John Gosden says Enable is ‘back in the zone’ as she bids to become the first three-time winner of the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.

The trainer believes Sandown’s Eclipse Stakes, in which Frankie Dettori’s mount was beaten by Ghaiyyath earlier this month, was the perfect platform for Saturday’s race and sees no drop in the competitive spirit that has delivered 13 wins for the six-year-old mare owned by Khalid Abdullah, including two Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe.

Gosden said: ‘I did not expect her to win the Eclipse. She’s a six-year-old racemare and not that wild, exuberant three-year-old race filly who could just do anything. She did well to finish second.

Enable faces three Aidan O’Brien-trained rivals in her bid for a record third King George win

‘I am looking forward to running her because she is up for it now. She behaved beautifully at Sandown when she was still not in the zone. I feel she is back in it.’

Enable, the 1-2 favourite, faces only three rivals: Anthony Van Dyck, Japan and Sovereign, all trained by Aidan O’Brien.

Meanwhile, Gosden says Stradivarius faces the ‘greatest challenge of his life’ when he attempts to become the first horse to win the Goodwood Cup four times on Tuesday.

The three-time Ascot Gold Cup winner must concede 15lb to O’Brien’s Irish Derby winner Santiago in the two-mile Group One race.



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Aidan O’Brien team bid to deny Enable third King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes win at Ascot


Aidan O’Brien team bid to deny Enable recond-breaking third King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes win at Ascot

  • Aidan O’Brien is hoping one of his six entires can claim victory at Ascot
  • Enable is looking to win King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes for third time
  • John Gosden-trained stablemate Fanny Logan is also in the running on Saturday

The massed ranks of the Aidan O’Brien team stand between Enable and her attempt to make history by winning a third King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.

O’Brien is responsible for six of the eight entries in British racing’s most prestigious midsummer middle-distance race.

With Enable joined by John Gosden-trained stablemate and Hardwicke Stakes winner Fanny Logan, the King George is a private shoot-out between the two most powerful Flat stables in British and Irish Flat racing.

The Aidan O’Brien team stand between Enable and her attempt to make history by winning a third King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on Saturday

That bare fact demonstrates an uncomfortable truth – that the best middle-distance horses are in the care of an ever-reducing number of trainers – but take away the trainers’ names and Enable will arguably face the best currently available.

The exception, given that the delayed running of the Oaks and Derby meant quality three-year-olds were less likely to be entered, is Enable’s Charlie Appleby-trained Eclipse Stakes conqueror Ghaiyyath who is being saved for next month’s Juddmonte International Stakes at York.

However, take away the distraction of the trainer names and the opposition for Enable could include Eclipse third Japan, old rival and 2019 Champion Stakes winner Magical, 2019 Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck and 2019 Irish Derby winner Sovereign.

Coral and Ladbrokes make Enable 10-11 favourite to secure her third King George win under Frankie Dettori, who has said he feels the mare has sharpened up for her Eclipse comeback.

Lord Grimthorpe, racing manager to Enable’s owner Khaled Abdullah, said: ‘Everything has been straightforward since the Eclipse and we think she’s come on for that run.’

CORAL BETTING: 10-11 Enable, 11-4 Magical, 4-1 Japan, 10-1 Fanny Logan, 12-1 Anthony Van Dyck, 20-1 Magic Wand, Sovereign, 25-1 Sir Dragonet



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Cheltenham king Barry Geraghty announces retirement from racing after victory-laden career


Cheltenham king Barry Geraghty announces retirement from racing after victory-laden career

  • Two-time Irish champion jump jockey Barry Geraghty, 40, retired from racing
  • Trainer Nicky Henderson led the tributes to the multiple Cheltenham winner
  • Geraghty succeeded Sir Anthony McCoy as No 1 jockey for JP McManus in 2015 

Champion trainer Nicky Henderson led the tributes to jockey Barry Geraghty, who announced his retirement from the saddle on Sunday.

The two-time Irish champion jump jockey succeeded Mick Fitzgerald as Henderson’s stable jockey in 2008 and his link with the trainer was maintained when Geraghty became No 1 jockey to owner JP McManus after Sir Anthony McCoy retired in 2015.

Geraghty, 41 in September, said he would have ridden at Aintree and Punchestown in the spring had Covid-19 not intervened, but his final act as a jockey turned out to be five wins from 11 rides at the Cheltenham Festival, including a fourth Champion Hurdle on Henderson’s Epatante.

Champion jockey Barry Geraghty has confirmed his retirement from racing at the age of 40

Henderson said: ‘We always got on well and we had some great days together. He was the ideal replacement when Mick retired.

‘Barry was a great man for the big stage. It is great he has gone out in one piece.

‘He has had some pretty brutal falls in recent years. I am pleased he went out in a blaze of glory at Cheltenham.’

Trainer Nicky Henderson led the tributes to Geraghty in the wake of his retirement

Trainer Nicky Henderson led the tributes to Geraghty in the wake of his retirement 

McCoy added: ‘We can all have opinions on jockeys, but you only need to look at Barry’s c.v. to see his class as a rider.’

Geraghty’s exit brings to an end a golden generation of Irish jump jockeys as he joins McCoy, Paul Carberry and Ruby Walsh in retirement. Geraghty’s 1,920 winners put him fourth on the jump jockeys’ all-time list but his big-race record was even better.

Injury disrupted the last five years of his career and when he broke a leg on the eve of the 2019 Grand National, many thought his career was over.

With Mark Walsh now operating as McManus’s No 1 in Ireland, last season Geraghty concentrated on quality rather than quantity in Britain with 25 wins from 88 rides.

He confirmed his retirement in his Sporting Index blog, saying: ‘I knew going into Cheltenham that it was going to be my last one and that’s probably why I showed more emotion than I had done in donkey’s years.

‘As things have worked out, we’ve ended up with another three or four months to think things through and that’s helped me to confirm the decision.’



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Frankie Dettori says his Investec Derby race was over before it began as English King lost at Epsom


Frankie Dettori says his Investec Derby race was over before it started as English King failed to deliver at Epsom

Frankie Dettori believes losing ground by veering left leaving the starting stalls was the moment that English King lost his chance in the Investec Derby at Epsom.

The post mortem continued yesterday into how Emmet McNamara-ridden Serpentine was able to make all the running to land the Classic by five and a half lengths and secure a record eighth win for trainer Aidan O’Brien.

Sectional timings supported the visual evidence that McNamara on the 25-1 winner was able to build up an unassailable lead – poaching valuable lengths in the seventh and eighth furlongs of the mile and a half race that allowed him to hang on despite being on the slowest horse in the race over the last two furlongs.

Frankie Dettori admits that he was left for dead on English King in the Investec Derby at Epsom

The numbers suggest that his fellow jockey made an error not chasing him earlier but Dettori, who finished fifth on English King, said his race plan was dictated by the stalls exit.

He said: ‘Stall one was a big negative. He went left at the start and then I am on the back foot straight away. Once you are in that position you are in the lap of the gods.

‘I thought I was following the right horse in Mogul and Kameko but unfortunately they did not take me into the race. Coming around Tattenham Corner we gave Serpentine a big lead and then we are playing catch-up.

‘I wish things had panned out a bit differently. I think the winner was good but when he was let loose in front he left us for dead.’

Serpentine’s next race could be the St Leger at Doncaster in September, although that could also be the target of O’Brien’s Irish Derby winner Santiago via a shot at the Goodwood Cup.

The St Leger could also be the destination of Andrew Balding’s Khalifa Sat. He will drop Kameko back in trip with the one-mile Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood and 10-furlong International Stakes at York possible targets.

A great weekend for the O’Brien family got even better when youngest son Donnacha, in his first season as a trainer, won yesterday’s French Oaks at Chantilly with Fancy Blue, ridden by Pierre-Charles Boudot.

It was a 1-2-3 for Ireland with Jessica Harrington’s Alpine Star second and Aidan O’Brien’s Peaceful third.



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