sport

Kingman strikes in France

Kingman lifted his fourth Group One prize of the season when landing the Jacques le Marois at Deauville.

John Gosden's brilliant three-year-old had annexed the Irish 2000 Guineas, St James's Palace Stakes and Sussex Stakes since finishing second in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket and made completed his top-flight four-timer with another imperious success.

Held-up in rear by James Doyle, tracking market rival Olympic Glory and Frankie Dettori as outsider Red Dubawi made the running, the jockeys were engaged in a game of cat and mouse in a slowly run affair.

Dettori took more than one look behind him to check the progress of Kingman but it wouldn't have mattered what he had done as the son of Invincible Spirit proved to be in a different league to his rivals.

The tempo gradually lifted as Olympic Glory, Rizeena and Anodin made their moves but Kingman swept past them all with a flick of Doyle's reins to record another scintillating victory.

Anodin followed him home at a respectful distance of two and a half lengths with Olympic Glory third and Rizeena fourth.

Dettori felt that a change of tactics may have cost him second place.

"My horse ran a super race, but he's the same sort of horse as the winner in that he likes something to aim at," he said. "In that small field, I had to ride him a bit differently and it probably cost us second."

In contrast, Gosden now believes that his colt can handle anything.

"I didn't think he was entirely in love with the ground - it was different to anything else he had faced - but he's got a wonderful temperament and showed he can cope with anything.

"It was a muddling pace, and James kept wondering when they were going to quicken it up. You had to be impressed with the way he went and won his race - the good thing was that he completely switched off.

"The plan is now the QEII (Ascot, October 18), which has always been his end-of-year objective."

Doyle said: "It's a shame they went so slowly early on because then it turned into a dash to the line.

"I wasn't sure that he would be able to go and do his usual thing on the ground, but he was just the same Kingman when I asked him to pick up as he's always been."

There had been a worry over whether Kingman would even take part and Gosden and Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to owner Khalid Abdullah, had walked the Normandy course several times with concerns it might be a little too soft for the season's finest miler.

The final decision to allow Kingman to take his chance was made by owner Prince Khalid Abdullah according to the Clarehaven handler who said: "It was a 50-50 (to run) in my mind, and a very sporting gesture by the Prince."

Pierre-Yves Bureau, racing manager for Anodin's owners, the Wertheimers, said: "He lost absolutely nothing in defeat and could run in the Breeders' Cup Mile."