sport

Kingman primed for Marois

John Gosden is keeping a watching brief on the ground at Deauville and has yet to confirm Kingman a definite starter in Sunday's Prix Jacques le Marois.

The Newmarket trainer walked the course before his Western Hymn finished fourth behind Gailo Chop in Friday's Deauville highlight, the Group Two Prix Guillaume D'Ornano.

His concerns about the going for superstar miler Kingman grew after an inch of rain fell during Thursday night, and jockey William Buick reported the ground to be testing after partnering Western Hymn.

Gosden said: "It's pretty terrible ground and he (Western Hymn) didn't like it at all. I'm flying back to England this evening and I will be at Deauville tomorrow.

"I walked the track before racing today and will do the same tomorrow and again on Sunday, before deciding whether Kingman will run."

Kingman is scheduled to travel to France by ferry tonight. It is the second time he has raced outside the UK and on the other occasion he also travelled by ferry, for the Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh.

Gosden's brilliant colt showed a blistering turn of foot to dispense with the classy Toronado when he took on older horses for the first time in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood less than three weeks ago.

Also the winner of the St James's Palace Stakes, Kingman faces another big test in the summer showpiece at the Normandy venue.

Speaking earlier in the day, Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to owner Khalid Abdullah, said: "We're going to look at the ground, but provided it's all right he'll run. He came out of the Goodwood race very well and it's been very straightforward since.

"He's done everything good. He worked really well on Saturday. We couldn't be happier with him. This will be another test."

Kingman's big-race partner James Doyle is looking forward to getting back on board the son of Invincible Spirit.

"I haven't sat on him since Goodwood but I've seen him walk past me a couple of times with Rab Havlin on his back," said Abdullah's retained jockey.

"Rab rides him in all his work and it's a system that seems to work well, John seems to like it that way. Speaking to Rab and Mr Gosden they seem very happy with him."

Toronado's team turn to Olympic Glory in another bid to lower the colours of Kingman and he is likely to have the soft ground he loves as he goes for a fourth win at the top level.

Winner of the Lockinge Stakes in the spring, Richard Hannon's charge has been kept for this race since finishing fourth to Cirrus Des Aigles in the Prix d'Ispahan at Longchamp at the end of May.

"He's all set and ready to roll. Richard reports him to be in very good form," said Harry Herbert racing manager for owners Al Shaqab Racing.

"It's soft ground here and he handles that well. A straight mile is his thing, as we've seen. Kingman will be a mighty tough nut to crack. We shouldn't be frightened of one horse, but any sane person would be frightened of Kingman.

"The horse is in good shape and this has been his target for an awful long time. He very nearly won it last year when he was beaten a short head by Moonlight Cloud. Hopefully he'll run very well and we'll see what happens."

Coronation Stakes heroine Rizeena flies the flag for three-year-old fillies on the back of a good second to Integral in the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket's July meeting.

"She handled soft ground in the Falmouth when she was second to Integral so that wouldn't be a worry," said Bruce Raymond, racing manager to owner Sheikh Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum.

"However, w e are taking on a champion. You should never be afraid of one horse is the saying, but he is the one! He is without doubt the best miler in Europe for me, but we'll give it a go.

"Her last run put to bed the talk that she doesn't act at Newmarket, and against the older fillies I thought she ran as well as we could have hoped. She looks great, even though she's been on the go all season, and I'm sure she'll run her race."

Only six were declared but the field has plenty of quality with the list completed by Andre Fabre's Prix Rothschild winner Esoterique, Freddy Head's Queen Anne Stakes third Anodin and Red Dubawi, who is now trained in Germany by Erika Mader.