/ Racing

Field of nine declared for cracking King George at Ascot

Updated: Thursday, 24 Jul 2014 16:17 | Comments

Taghrooda is bidding to become the first three-year-old filly to win the King George since Pawneese in 1976
Taghrooda is bidding to become the first three-year-old filly to win the King George since Pawneese in 1976

Royal Ascot hero Telescope and Oaks heroine Taghrooda feature among a final field of nine runners in the Qipco-sponsored King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.

The Michael Stoute-trained Telescope produced the performance he has long promised with a brilliant display in the Hardwicke Stakes over the King George course and distance, earning himself a step up to Group One level.

Taghrooda kept her unbeaten record intact in Classic company at Epsom and owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum made the bold call to skip the Irish Oaks at the Curragh last weekend in favour of taking on the boys in Saturday's Ascot showpiece.

Taghrooda is one of three three-year-olds in the field, all of which are trained by John Gosden.

The master of Clarehaven Stables has also declared Epsom Derby third Romsdal, as well as

Eagle Top, supplemented at a cost of £75,000 after winning the King Edward VII Stakes at the Royal meeting.

Gosden plans to walk the course at Ascot on Friday before making a final decision on whether to let the latter line up.

"Eagle Top is in very good form. Unfortunately our supplementary system is five days before the race. In France, it's a much better system, it's at 48 hours," Gosden told At The Races.

"At the five-day stage there was talk of thunderstorms on Friday and Saturday, but now it looks like the rain is much more likely on Sunday.

"With the owners, who know the family well and know the horse well, we'll make a decision.

"I'll be at Ascot tomorrow (Friday) and walk the track. Then we will be making our decision.

"He's a very nice horse, but I didn't really want to run him twice on too fast a ground.

"He did it well at Royal Ascot, but he's bred more for good, good to soft ground."

Mukhadram won the Coral-Eclipse for William Haggas earlier in the month and steps up to a mile and a half for the first time, with Dane O'Neill taking the ride as Sheikh Hamdan's retained rider Paul Hanagan has unsurprisingly sided with Taghrooda.

There s a strong presence from Ireland with Aidan O'Brien's Prince of Wales's Stakes runner-up Magician joined by Jim Bolger-trained pair of Leitir Mor and Trading Leather.

The latter, who carries the colours of Godolphin, was runner-up behind Mukhadram in the Eclipse and big-race jockey Kevin Manning is confident he can make his presence felt this weekend.

"You could make a case for basically every horse in the race. It's a very good race," Manning told At The Races.

"He's going there in good shape and I'm looking forward to riding him. I think he'll put up a big show."

Andre Fabre's French challenger Flintshire complete the stellar line-up.

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