Doyle teams up with Afsare for Listed Gala Stakes
Kieren Fallon is no stranger to controversy so he will have taken his latest setback squarely on the chin. Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum has insisted that Fallon no longer rides his horses, although the Irishman will continue to ride for the Luca Cumani stable.
The first beneficiary is James Doyle, fresh from his fantastic treble at Royal Ascot highlighted by Al Kazeem in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes. He will already be looking forward to teaming up with that colt in Saturday’s Coral Eclipse but he will first need to give Afsare his full attention.
The six-year-old gelding can get stirred up before his races and flatly refused to enter the stalls at Goodwood earlier this season. He showed the same trait at last year’s Arlington Million but there was nothing wrong with his attitude in the race as he flew home to finish second.
Doyle could hardly have a more difficult introduction to riding in the Sheikh Obaid colours but there is no doubting that the horse has the talent to win here. Equal with Afsare on official ratings is the French raider Mandour, third behind the high-class duo of Maxios and Planteur in the Group 1 Prix D’Isphahan.
The four-year-old chestnut was doing all of his best work in the closing stages that day and has an obvious chance here.
The best of the three-year-olds should be Richard Hannon’s Van Der Neer who ran a fine race in the 2000 Guineas when third to Dawn Approach. He could not repeat that effort in Ireland but was back to his best when a close third to Remote at Royal Ascot.
Trainer Mick De Kock has elected to run David Livingston here rather than in Saturday’s big one-mile handicap. He ran a sound race in the Royal Hunt Cup when fifth and could run into a place if he settles over this trip.
Sri Putra may be getting a little long in the tooth at the age of seven and showed little of his old sparkle at Epsom. Frankie Dettori has been booked by Roger Varian who has his stable in fine form.
John Gosden’s Excess Knowledge looked like a good colt in the making last season, notably when second to the smart Just The Judge. This is quite a tough assignment first time out but he could be worth noting for the future.
Mirsaale was tilting at windmills when running in the Epsom Derby but ran creditably in seventh. This looks a much more suitable objective. Eleven runners go to post with the race due off at 4.00pm.