Kew Gardens attempting to become 13th Irish trained King George winner

William Buick on board Crystal Ocean as Stoute chases record

“We’ll see what the lads (owners) want to do but we’ve been happy with him since France,” O’Brien said. “That’s the way we’re thinking at the moment and we’ll see what this week will bring.”

“We’ll see what the lads (owners) want to do but we’ve been happy with him since France,” O’Brien said. “That’s the way we’re thinking at the moment and we’ll see what this week will bring.”

 

Bookmakers rate Kew Gardens as the prime contender to become a ‘Lucky’ 13th Irish trained winner of this Saturday’s King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.

Legendary names such as Nijinsky and Galileo feature among the dozen Irish winners already on the roll of honour of British racing’s premier all-aged prize with the first of them, Ballymoss, starting it all 60 years ago.

Kew Garden is one of five Aidan O’Brien trained horses among the 14 entries left in the King George after Monday’s forfeit stage.

The Grand Prix de Paris winner is a general 5-1 shot to strike a blow for the classic generation against a powerful older team headed by Sir Michael Stoute’s pair, Crystal Ocean and Poet’s Word. Victory for either will give Stoute a record sixth King George.

Crystal Ocean tops the betting and will be ridden by William Buick as his regular jockey Ryan Moore is committed to O’Brien’s Ballydoyle team. The in-form James Doyle will maintain his partnership with the Royal Ascot winner, Poet’s Word.

Buick is delighted with the prospect of riding the 2-1 favourite Crystal Ocean and reported: “I’m riding him tomorrow morning on the gallops. He looks to be tough and genuine and an uncomplicated horse.”

The filly Hydrangea joins Cliffs Of Moher, Rostropovich and Nelson among the other Ballydoyle contenders but Kew Garden appears to be O’Brien’s number one hope and Moore’s likely ride.

“We’ll see what the lads (owners) want to do but we’ve been happy with him since France,” O’Brien said. “That’s the way we’re thinking at the moment and we’ll see what this week will bring.”

The fast-improving colt will bid to emulate his sire Galileo who won the King George in 2001, the first of O’Brien’s four King George victories to date.

Galileo was the sole three year old among that elite group which also includes Dylan Thomas (2007), Duke Of Marmalade (2008) and Highland Reel two years ago.

Prior to his maiden Group One success at Paris-Longchamp 10 days ago, Kew Gardens landed the Queen’s Vase in good style at Royal Ascot.

Last year’s top-rated European performer Cracksman has been left in the King George too but is reportedly unlikely to run if ground conditions remain quick at Ascot.

Stable companion Coronet could step into the breach but whether or not she can be ridden by Frankie Dettori will be determined on Tuesday.

Robbie Power: “Unfortunately I won’t be back in time for Galway. Just saw my surgeon and while the shoulder is recovering well, Galway is coming a week too soon.”
Robbie Power: “Unfortunately I won’t be back in time for Galway. Just saw my surgeon and while the shoulder is recovering well, Galway is coming a week too soon.”

The Italian jockey will be at British Horseracing Authority HQ to appeal against a 10 day careless riding ban that currently rules him out of both the King George and next week’s Goodwood festival.

In National Hunt news top jockey Robbie Power has confirmed he will miss next week’s Galway festival after failing to recover from shoulder surgery in time.

The Gold Cup winning rider hasn’t been seen in action since the middle of last month and reported: “Unfortunately I won’t be back in time for Galway. Just saw my surgeon and while the shoulder is recovering well, Galway is coming a week too soon.”

The weights for Galway’s two handicap features have been released and see champion trainer Willie Mullins heavily represented.

Mullins has 14 of the 44 entries left in the €300,000 Guinness Galway Hurdle including the top weight Wicklow Brave who is rated 12lbs ahead of his stable companion Meri Devie.

He also 13 potential contenders left in Wednesday week’s Tote Galway Plate, worth €250,000, which will be run as the centrepiece of a Day Three evening fixture for the first time.

Henry De Bromhead won the Plate a year ago with Balko Des Flos and has made seven entries as he tries to win the Plate for a third time in four years.

They include the early topweights Sub Lieutenant (11.10) and Valseur Lido (11.5). But the Co Waterford based trainer can also call on Conrad Hastings and Calino D’airy, twice a course winner last October, further down the handicap.

Five British based hopefuls have been left in the Plate, a race last won by a cross-channel raider a decade ago when Oslot scored for Paul Nicholls.

Tuesday evening’s jumps action at Ballinrobe sees another Gold Cup winning jockey, Bryan Cooper, with a couple of interesting contenders.

Dia Del Sol belied a big price when running a slightly unlucky at Cork last time but it is the Sligo winner Padraic O’Conaire who might prove the best bet upped in trip for a handicap hurdle.

Cooper’s mount is 5lbs higher in the ratings for that last win but still looks reasonably treated and could relish the longest trip he’s tackled to date.

Masons Daughter brings winning bumper form and hurdling experience from last winter into the opening maiden hurdle which should make her hard to beat.

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