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Trading Leather looks the value in King George at Ascot

The build up to the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes has largely been overshadowed by the sad injury to St Nicholas Abbey. A field of only eight remain after Aidan O’Brien withdrew Chamonix and Ernest Hemingway but there is still an intriguing clash of the generations to look forward to.

This year’s Epsom Derby form was badly let down at the Curragh when Jim Bolger’s Trading Leather comfortably saw off the first three home. Bolger believes is was one of the finest pieces of training of his career and there is a feeling that the colt may have been underestimated.

He was second to Libertarian in the Dante Stakes at York and was then sent for the Irish 2000 Guineas in which he set a furious pace before being swallowed up by Magician. He was then given a prep race over a longer trip before running out an impressive winner of the Irish Derby.

The three-year-olds are also represented by the supplementary entry Hillstar from Sir Michael Stoute’s stable. An entry for this race looked a long way off when he was beaten in a Newbury handicap earlier in the summer but he put that run behind him when scoring at Royal Ascot.

Ryan Moore managed to settle the free-running colt sufficiently to preserve enough energy to cut down Battle Of Marengo in the home straight. Whilst that form does not quite match up to Trading Leather, he is a progressive colt and could run into a place.

Cirrus des Aigles is the highest rated middle distance horse in Europe but disappointed when only fifth behind Novellist at Saint Cloud. Connections are confident that he just needed the run that day and he is expected to turn the tables on the German horse.

Very Nice Name finished third behind St Nicholas Abbey in Dubai this spring and is the mount of Olivier Peslier. That was his first attempt at Group One level and he will probably benefit from the run here after a lengthy absence.

Roger Varian’s Ektihaam is bidding to bounce back from an unfortunate slip at the Royal meeting. He had earlier been a most impressive winner here and will probably set the pace under Dane O’Neill.

Mark Johnston’s Universal has earned a crack at Group One company after winning well at Newmarket whilst Red Cadeaux would have a squeak if returning to his Dubai World Cup form.

Selection: Trading Leather
Danger: Cirrus des Aigles