Azamour the only answer

YOU know when you look at a race from many different angles and the outcome is always the same.

Well, that's how I feel about Saturdays King George at Newbury and can only see one winner, Azamour.

He is that rare equine talent who arrives on the scene from time to time, tough, resilient and just downright bomb-proof.

The son of Night Shift has been a model of consistency since making a successful debut as a two-year-old up the Curragh.

Nine times he has run in all, winning five, and only once has been out of the first three. That was at the Curragh in May when Azamour got no sort of run in the closing stages when fourth behind Grey Swallow in the Tattersalls Gold Cup.

He has three Group Ones to his credit already and has twice scored away from home, at Ascot and York. As well as that the expected fast surface will be just what is required.

Of course there are minor doubts about him getting a mile and a half. But the way he finishes out his races gives every reason to believe he will stay, and there were no signs of stopping at the end of ten and a half furlongs at York last time, as he swept by Ace in the closing stages.

You would have to respect Grey Swallow and the meticulous preparation he has been given by Dermot Weld.

There are no doubts about him over the trip, but firm ground would be a major worry. All the evidence is he likes a little cut and I am also inclined to the view he's a better horse at the Curragh than anywhere else. The son of Daylami has yet to score outside of Ireland.

Bago appears to have lost the plot and Gamut, admirable and all as he is, just doesn't seem good enough.

Eswarah is unbeaten in three races, but, impressive as she was when easily taking the Epsom Oaks, that race is beginning to look increasingly suspect

The dark horse has to be Ballydoyle's Ace, who is clearly improving fast, but has yet to win beyond a mile.

Nevertheless, he ran the race of his life when second to Azamour at York and, maybe, a mile and a half is what is really required!

Still can't see past Azamour, however. He'll travel well through the race and will get down and fight when called on. Let's hope he can put us in good form for the journey west and the delights of Ballybrit.

YOU should have been in the press-room at the Curragh on Sunday as a couple of us went 15 rounds on those fines handed down by the Killarney stewards last Thursday.

As you know the stewards fined the five amateur jockeys who rode in the bumper, after the contest had been run at a virtual crawl throughout.

Two colleagues completely disagreed with my views on the subject and the discussion got mighty heated. It really was great fun.

All five involved have decided to appeal and here's one who hopes that the decision of the local stewards is confirmed.

The integrity of racing didn't suffer because of the way the race was run, but I do believe the game was brought into disrepute.

My colleagues, essentially, argued that the pilots were only following orders from the trainers and there is nothing in the rule book which says a contest has to proceed in a particular way. And, perhaps, in the end they will be proved right.

But every punter who didn't back the winner, whether on-track or watching on television, felt cheated, felt they didn't get any run for their money and that's why this race brought the game into disrepute.

And that's why, the minute the contest was over, you couldn't walk five yards at Killarney without someone coming up to you and voicing a complaint.

Punters, in every sport, are the most important people. They pay through the gate and, without them, the show is simply over.

The argument, and it was offered on Sunday, that the pilots had to obey the orders of their trainer-masters, holds no water as far as I'm concerned.

Jockeys get to the top because they are able to make it up as they go along, because they are their own men. The jockeys who rode in the Killarney bumper may as well have been robots, programmed to behave in a very specific manner.

The whole thing left a sour taste and the stewards would have been failing in their duty to let it go.

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