FORMER St Leger winner Kew Gardens has been ruled out of Thursday’s Gold Cup at Royal Ascot.
Aidan O’Brien’s five-year-old was set to renew rivalry with reigning champion Stradivarius, having inflicted a shock defeat on John Gosden’s star in the Long Distance Cup on British Champions Day.
However, the 2018 Doncaster hero will not line up in the two-and-a-half-mile showpiece, with Ballydoyle tweeting: “We weren’t 100 per cent happy with Kew Gardens this morning and he will not be entered in the Ascot Gold Cup.”
O’Brien is without an entry for Group One prize, with the nine contenders headed by hat-trick seeker Stradivarius.
Gosden’s charge warmed up for the race with a third place in last week’s Coronation Cup at Newmarket and will be bidding to join Sagaro as a three-time winner, with Yeats holding the race record with his four victories.
Last year’s fourth Cross Counter will be in opposition again for Charlie Appleby, who has also entered Moonlight Spirit. Technician is set to make his seasonal bow, with trainer Martyn Meade having booked champion jockey Oisin Murphy for the ride on the four-year-old who was a Group One winner in France last season.
Meanwhile Sagaro Stakes winner Nayef Road is set to represent Mark Johnston, who claimed the race with Royal Rebel in 2001 and 2002 as well as Double Trigger in 1995.
Tomorrow, Dakota Gold sets out on what could be a really productive season this year when he runs in the Achilles Stakes at Doncaster.
Darlington-based Michael Dods knows a thing or two about sprinters – he’s won the Nunthorpe at York twice with Mecca’s Angel – and his handling so far of this six-year-old has been astute.
The Equiano gelding met with defeat just twice from seven starts last season, powering through the handicap ranks before just being denied in a Group Three at Newbury.
He was not out of the winner’s enclosure for long, though, getting his head in front next time out at Ascot in a Listed affair, coming home very strongly and relishing the stiff five furlongs at the Berkshire venue.
He sticks at that trip for this assignment and looks to have enough about him to overcome the 3lb penalty and see off a quality field that includes El Astronaute for John Quinn and Jason Hart.
Favourite Siskin overcame a troubled passage to ultimately power to victory in the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh last night.
The unbeaten Ger Lyons-trained, Khalid Abdullah-owned colt was locked in a pocket on the rail with two furlongs of the mile Classic to run, but Colin Keane managed to get a run and once in the clear his mount quickened smartly to the front.
In what was a rough race, the 2-1 shot saw off the Aidan O’Brien pair Vatican City (14-1) and Lope Y Fernandez, who got first run. and looked like being the winner at one stage, was another three-quarters of a length back in third.
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