Love bidding to follow in Galileo’s footsteps at Ascot

Aidan O’Brien’s star four-year-old is favourite for Saturday’s King George Stakes

The late super-sire Galileo won the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes in 2001 and 20 years later his daughter Love is favourite to follow in his footsteps on Saturday.

Bookmaker reaction after nine horses were left in the Ascot feature at Tuesday’s acceptance stage was to make Love market leader for an eagerly-anticipated generational clash with the Derby winner Adayar.

It promises echoes of two decades ago when Coolmore’s Galileo got the better of Godolphin’s Fantastic Light in a memorable head-to-head duel.

That was the first of four King George victories for Aidan O’Brien who in addition to Love has left in three other Group 1 winners, Broome, and the two brothers, Mogul and Japan, who are outsiders in ante-post lists.


O’Brien last landed the midsummer all-aged highlight with Highland Reel in 2016.

Since then Enable proved to be the dominant King George figure with an unprecedented hat-trick.

Her trainer, John Gosden, has committed Mishriff to the race this time.

Winner in the Spring of the world’s most valuable race, the Saudi Cup, as well as last year’s French Derby, Mishriff will bid for a first British Group 1 on the back of a third to St Mark’s Basilica in the Eclipse.

David Egan will once again ride Mishriff while Gosden's regular ally Frankie Dettori is likely to be on board the Irish Derby runner up Lone Eagle this time.

Dettori currently holds the King George record of seven wins jointly with Lester Piggott.

The Italian star looked to have secured classic glory on Lone Eagle at the Curragh last month until the partnership were beaten close home by Hurricane Lane.

The latter has since boosted the form with a wide-margin success in the Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp.

One King George absentee however will be the Coronation Cup winner Pyledriver who has met with an untimely minor setback.

“He worked superb on Saturday. We went to Charlie Hills’ and he worked stunning with a very good miler.

“I walked over to meet him coming back - he was bouncing - washed him down and what have you and all was fine.

“But that evening I just thought he was slightly wrong behind on his off-hind.

“My vet came, his testicle was pulled right up so he thinks he might have rolled in his box and tweaked his groin,” reported his trainer William Muir.

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor is the racing correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Tipping Point column