Thomas up there with the best – BHB handicapper

THE King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot may have been tagged a substandard affair beforehand, but the manner in which Dylan Thomas slammed his rivals has been acclaimed by the senior British Horseracing Board handicapper.

The Aidan O’Brien-trained colt shot four lengths clear of Youmzain in a race which had attracted close scrutiny and led to suggestions it was in decline, with once again no representative of the Classic generation taking part.

But the son of Danehill has been rated 126 by Phil Smith, the same mark as he achieved in last year’s World Thoroughbred Rankings and the same as the last two King George winners, Hurricane Run and Azamour.

Only one winner, Alamshar, has been significantly higher since 2002.

Smith said: “He won comfortably in a truly-run race and treated everything that was put before him with disdain.

“As a King George winner he is well up to standard, which is a very high standard indeed.”

Kieren Fallon believes a sound pace is an important factor in the continued success of Dylan Thomas.

Fallon has yet to ride the four-year-old this term, but partnered him to victory in last year’s Irish Derby and Champion Stakes.

And he believes stablemate Scorpion certainly helped matters when making the early running in the mile-and-a-half feature.

He said: “He’s done nothing wrong in his career and I’ve been very lucky with the horse.

“He was a very impressive (Irish) Derby winner and he’s a joy to ride. The pace was the key to him as the last day he ran there wasn’t much pace on.

“He was just doing a little bit too much and when he came there, he just emptied.

“But Johnny (Murtagh) gave him a great ride, kicked on, and he won very impressively like a very good horse,” he told At The Races.

Murtagh was also keen to underline the class of Dylan Thomas after he continued what has been a dream run for the rider.

“They were all Group One winners bar Maraahel so I don’t think you can knock the race too much,” said Murtagh, also successful on Peeping Fawn and Simply Perfect recently in Group One contests.

“Maybe there weren’t 20 runners and there was no Derby winner, but he’s a very good horse and the King George is always a very special race.

“Sometimes you don’t appreciate it when it’s happening for you but the opportunities are coming for me and I intend to grab them with both hands.

“They’re coming thick and fast now and I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season.”

Mick Channon, trainer of Youmzain, was vehement in his defence of this year’s renewal.

He said: “A lot of trainers are working very hard to put on a show. I have no problem with people saying something is substandard, if that’s a fact I can live with that. But Dylan Thomas is a top-class horse.

“Maraahel (third) is a horse who has been consistent in Group One races everywhere, and if we’re not careful all we are going to do is get these horses sold to Hong Kong and America, and British racing will be poorer for it.”

Reflecting on Youmzain’s run, he added: “Hughesy (Richard Hughes) thought he had him, but he kicked better than we did and we kicked pretty good. The winner has just quickened that little bit better than we did.

“I’d have thought we will probably go to Germany and then the Arc. We’ll turn up and hope we get lucky. The good thing with our horse is he goes on any ground. It doesn’t matter basically how a race is run as long as he is right.”

More in this section

Sport
Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up
IE_logo_newsletters

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox