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Charlie Hills fires a couple of darts at the King George Qatar Stakes as he bids to become the most successful trainer in the history of the race.
The Lambourn-based handler, who saddled the brilliant Battaash to four successive wins between 2017 and 2020, has Kings Stand fifth Equilateral and Palace House winner Khaadem in the 11-strong field for Friday’s 3.35pm at Goodwood.
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Raasel, who won over course and distance in April, attempts to bring up a hat-trick while Scurry scorer Mitbaahy is also prominent in the betting.
You’ll find our snazzy runner-by-runner guide to the King George Qatar Stakes plus tips from Paddy Power pundits below.
King George Qatar Stakes runners
Trainer: Charlie Appleby Jockey: William Buick Age: 5 Weight: 9st 7lbs Draw: 9
Smart gelding who resumed winning ways in Group 2 at Meydan (5f) in February by 1½ lengths from Acklam Express. Failed to land any sort of blow in King’s Stand at the Royal Meeting on reappearance last month so needs to get back on track back down in grade.
Trainer: Nigel Tinkler Jockey: Rowan Scott Age: 4 Weight: 9st 4lbs Draw: 10
Excellent second in Group 2 at Meydan behind Lazuli in February and bounced back from a couple of lesser efforts when 4½ lengths third in King’s Stand (200/1) at Royal Ascot last month. However he’s not won since his 2-y-o days (which included a C&D victory) and this looks another tough assignment.
Trainer: Robert Cowell Jockey: Silvestre De Sousa Age: 4 Weight: 9st 4lbs Draw: 8
Progressive sprinter last year, winning 4 of his 6 starts. Made the most of a good opportunity to score at Beverley last month but he was below form back up in grade in a listed event at Chantilly since. Likely to come up short once again.
Trainer: Charles Hills Jockey: Kieran Shoemark Age: 7 Weight: 9st 4lbs Draw: 1
Has proved he retains a lot of ability in 3 outings this term, latest when 1¾ lengths third in Sapphire Stakes at the Curragh just under a fortnight ago, looking more of a threat than he proved to be approaching the final 1f. Not discounted. Yard also saddles Khaadem.
Trainer: Stuart Williams Jockey: Marco Ghiani Age: 4 Weight: 9st 4lbs Draw: 5
Much improved since switched to sprinting for this yard, landed back-to-back AW handicaps at the start of the year. Back to form after a couple of below-par efforts when 1½ lengths fourth to Raasel in Sprint Stakes at Sandown earlier this month but he’s come up short at this level previously.
Trainer: Charles Hills Jockey: Ryan Moore Age: 6 Weight: 9st 4lbs Draw: 7
Smart gelding who made all in Palace House Stakes at Newmarket (5f) 3 months ago by neck from Existent, able to get away having raced on his own throughout. Those tactics could be more difficult to pull off here but he’s 1 of 2 from yard who have dominated the race recently with Battaash.
Trainer: Miroslav Nieslanik Jockey: Frankie Dettori Age: 4 Weight: 9st 4lbs Draw: 6
Czech raider who returned much improved with all-the-way victory under this rider in 5f Group 3 Prix de Saint-Georges at Longchamp in May. Well held in King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot on first start on these shores last month and that France win remains very much a stand out on his record.
Trainer: Michael Appleby Jockey: James Doyle Age: 5 Weight: 9st 4lbs Draw: 3
Has thrived for connections since he returned to turf last season, winning 6 handicaps (2-2 over C&D). Took form up a notch when landing listed race at Haydock in May and continued his remarkable rise with Group 3 win at Sandown (by neck from Mitbaahy) earlier this month. Major player.
Trainer: Clive Cox Jockey: Tom Marquand Age: 3 Weight: 9st 0lbs Draw: 2
Listed/Group 2 winner as a juvenile. Back to somewhere near his best when third in Scurry Stakes at Sandown early last month but ran below form with no obvious excuse when down the field in listed event at York since. Cheekpieces applied.
Trainer: Roger Varian Jockey: David Egan Age: 3 Weight: 9st 0lbs Draw: 4
Built on a good reappearance run when taking 5f Hamilton conditions race and took a big step forward when stylish winner of Sandown listed event. Progressed further and looked unlucky not to win when neck second to Raasel at latter course earlier this month and he may well turn the tables here.
Trainer: Brian Meehan Jockey: Sean Levey Age: 3 Weight: 8st 11lbs Draw: 11
Landed 5f listed race at Ayr before good seventh in Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint at Del Mar. Last of 10 in Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock (6f) on her return and faces a stiff task back at 5f against her elders.
King George Qatar Stakes tips
Matt Chapman: The Charge at Sandown might hold the key here and Raasel was lucky to win that with Mitbaahy unlucky and Equilateral desperately unfortunate. The problem with the latter is that he finds winning hard, so I’ll go with the three-year-old MITBAAHY for Roger Varian and David Egan. I suspect there is more from him to come and this is a winnable renewal.
Mick Fitzgerald: This is a poor contest for such a prestigious race. KHAADEM is fast and he may get away here.
Frank Hickey: This is a very open renewal and it’s very competitive, you could make a case for anyone in the race. Equilateral was disappointing at the Curragh and I’m going to side with his stable mate KHAADEM. He won the Palace House Stakes at Newmarket back in April and if you look back at the Stewards Cup in 2019, he absolutely bolted in off a mark of 107. He looked like a Group 1 sprinter after that. The booking of Ryan Moore is a positive and as the ground is on the faster side he’s got a solid each-way chance in a very open race.
Timeform: MITBAAHY progressed further despite enduring a rough passage towards the rail when finishing a neck behind Raasel in the Sprint Stakes at Sandown earlier this month. Granted better luck in-running today, Roger Varian’s colt is fancied to turn the tables with that rival and gain a breakthrough success at Pattern level in the process. Charlie Hills is no stranger to success in this contest (Battaash won 4 of last 5) and his Khaadem and Equilateral should be on the premises, too.
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