sport

Top field seek George glory

John Gosden plans to walk the course at Ascot on Friday before making a final decision on whether to let Eagle Top line up in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.

The three-year-old was a brilliant winner of the King Edward VII Stakes at the Royal meeting last month and was supplemented for this weekend's Group One showpiece at a cost of 75,000 on Monday.

However, Gosden was hoping for rain ahead of the weekend and with the chances of any falling ahead of the race seemingly diminishing, he admits it is not yet certain Eagle Top will take his chance.

"Eagle Top is in very good form. Unfortunately our supplementary system is five days before the race. In France, it's a much better system, it's at 48 hours," Gosden told At The Races.

"At the five-day stage there was talk of thunderstorms on Friday and Saturday, but now it looks like the rain is much more likely on Sunday.

"With the owners, who know the family well and know the horse well, we'll make a decision. I'll be at Ascot tomorrow (Friday) and walk the track. Then we will be making our decision.

"He's a very nice horse, but I didn't really want to run him twice on too fast a ground. He did it well at Royal Ascot, but he's bred more for good, good to soft ground."

Eagle Top is one of three three-year-olds declared by the master of Clarehaven Stables, with Epsom Oaks heroine Taghrooda and Derby third Romsdal both set to tackle their elders for the first time.

Taghrooda looked set to bid for a Classic double in last weekend's Irish Oaks at the Curragh, but was taken out of the race last Thursday with owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum making the bold call to run her this weekend instead.

Mukhadram won the Coral-Eclipse for William Haggas earlier in the month and steps up to a mile and a half for the first time, with Dane O'Neill taking the ride as Sheikh Hamdan's retained rider Paul Hanagan has unsurprisingly sided with Taghrooda.

The Sir Michael Stoute-trained Telescope produced the performance he has long promised with a brilliant display in the Hardwicke Stakes over the King George course and distance, earning himself a step up to Group One level.

There is a strong presence from Ireland with Aidan O'Brien's Prince of Wales's Stakes runner-up Magician joined by the Jim Bolger-trained pair of Leitir Mor and Trading Leather.

The latter, who carries the colours of Godolphin, was runner-up behind Mukhadram in the Eclipse and big-race jockey Kevin Manning is confident he can make his presence felt this weekend.

"You could make a case for basically every horse in the race. It's a very good race," said Manning.

"He's going there in good shape and I'm looking forward to riding him. I think he'll put up a big show."

Andre Fabre's French challenger Flintshire complete the nine-strong line-up.