Magician can take centre stage in King George
Magician can make his proven class tell to win a mouthwatering renewal of the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot today (3.50).
The Aidan O’Brien trained colt improved at a rate of knots last season, winning the Dee Stakes at Chester in runaway style before landing the Group 1 Irish 2000 Guineas by 3 1/2 lengths.
The son of Galileo Magician went on to show a devastating turn of foot when winning the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf in Santa Anita, and was far from disgraced on his first start this year when a 2 3/4 length fifth of 15 to Gentildonna in the Dubai Sheema Classic in Meydan.
The four-year-old then got back on the winning trail in the Group 3 Mooresbridge Stakes last time out at the Curragh, before getting beat 1 1/4 lengths by Noble Mission in the Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh on unsuitable soft ground.
Magican then put in a cracking effort last time out at Royal Ascot when runner-up to The Fugue in the Group 1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes, where he had Arc winner Treve and subsequent Coral-Eclipse winner Mukhadram behind in third and fourth respectively.
That is top class form, and the step back up to 1m 4f and fast ground look sure to suit.
The biggest danger looks to be classic winning filly Taghrooda, who receives a handy 15lb weight-for-age and sex allowance from Magician.
The John Gosden-trained daughter of Sea The Stars is unbeaten in three starts, and was ultra-impressive when slamming Tarfasha by 3 3/4 lengths in the Investec Oaks at Epsom when last seen in action.
Taghrooda travelled supremely well throughout that contest before showing a devastating turn of foot to put the race to bed, and the fact that Paul Hanagan has chosen to partner her over Mukhadram speaks volumes.
The other horse worthy of plenty of respect is Telescope, who is bidding to give Newmarket trainer Sir Michael Stoute his sixth winner in the contest.
The colt was soundly beaten on his first two starts this season by Noble Mission, albeit on soft ground which connection said didn’t suit, before winning the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot in runaway style from Hillstar.
The son of Galileo slammed his stable companion by seven lengths, but Hillstar was poorly ridden from off the pace and has since been beaten by an eight-year-old in a weak Group 2 contest at Newmarket.
That gives the form a far from solid look, and I think Telescope will have to step up significantly on it if he is to make his first venture into Group 1 company a winning one.