Classic winners Magician and Trading Leather to lead Irish bid for King George glory
Aidan O’Brien bidding for a fourth success in Britain’s most prestigious open-age flat race
Kevin Manning riding Trading Leather to win The Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at Curragh last year. Photo: Alan Crowhurst/Getty
Aidan O’Brien and Jim Bolger already know what it takes to win the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes and both Irish trainers look set to target this Saturday’s Ascot highlight with classic winners.
O’Brien puts his hopes of a fourth King George victory into last year’s Irish Guineas hero Magician who was joined only by his stable-companion Hall Of Mirrors among 12 horses left in Britain’s all-aged midsummer highlight yesterday.
Ballydoyle’s Gold Cup winner Leading Light ’s name was absent yesterday in a star-studded five-day entry that includes the supplemented King Edward VII winner Eagle Top and his unbeaten Oaks winning stable companion Taghrooda.
Telescope is a general 2-1 favourite to give Sir Michel Stoute a record-breaking sixth King George but 22 years after St Jovite won the mile and a half feature, Jim Bolger has kept open the option of giving Trading Leather another crack at the race.
Trading Leather was a five length runner-up to Novellist last year, one of a number of top-flight second-placings for the 2013 Irish Derby winner, which also include chasing home Mukhadram in the Eclipse earlier this month.
Mukhadram has been confirmed as a top-quality second-string to Taghrooda for Sheikh Hamdan whose spokesman, Angus Gold, said : “William (Haggas) has always felt Mukhadaram will stay and his pedigree suggests he will. We know he’s very effective at a mile and a quarter so we’ll have to see.”
Gold added he expects Paul Hanagan to side with Taghrooda, saying: “I think it would be hard to get off an unbeaten classic winner who is getting a lot of weight from older horses.”
The tried-and-trusted route through next month’s Debutante Stakes and on to the Moyglare in September could be on the cards for Jessica Harrington’s smart juvenile filly, Jeanne Girl.
The Curragh maiden winner was only just denied by I Am Beautiful in a return to HQ last month for the Group Three Grangecon Stud Stakes and looks set for a step up in trip.