Kings Gambit makes plenty each-way appeal

THE three-year-old colts have been getting the better of the exchanges with their more mature counterparts this season and, therefore, it’s no surprise that Godolphin’s Kite Wood is favourite to see off his seniors in today’s Group 3 Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury.

Formerly trained by Michael Jarvis, he was, arguably, a shade disappointing when fifth in the Dante on his seasonal debut for his current handlers and never really figured in the Derby on his subsequent outing.

He bounced back to form when leading virtually all the way in a Group 3 at Newmarket over today’s trip but he was entitled to win as easily as he did and the victory simply confirmed that he was back in rude health and ready to recommence his progress.

That advancement will need to forthcoming if he’s to hold off today’s competition but the Godolphin outfit should know where it stands with Mourilyan.

On his return to the Gary Moore stable, the latter was 12 lengths clear of the third placed horse in the Group 2 Goodwood Cup but, alas, a length behind Kite Wood’s stable-companion and potentially brilliant stayer Schiaparelli.

The early pace was perhaps a little shy of what would have been required for Mourilyan to really

excel on that occasion and the drop back in trip today should not be a problem as long as there’s a strong gallop from the outset. It’s a little disconcerting that the globe-trotting stayer has not won a race since completing a four-timer back in February of last year but he's a classy sort and it’s hard to see how he’ll be out of the frame.

All The Aces is top rated in the race but an easy victory in a Listed Race was followed by a slightly disappointing effort behind Doctor Fremantle in the Princess Of Wales’s Stakes at Newmarket last time out. He came under pressure a long way out that day and was beaten when hampered about a furlong and a half from home.

He was noted staying on again and a faster pace on this big galloping track should play to his strengths. However, some cut in the ground would also be a help and he might just come up a little short here.

Dansant has been a star on the all-weather and he produced a good effort back on the turf when third behind Bronze Cannon and Campanologist in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot last time out. He was staying on quite well on that occasion but he might struggle to match some classy stayers here and a place is probably his best hope.

Basaltico looked promising for former connections, including when third behind Veracity and Mourilyan, but his debut for Luca Cumani leaves him with a mountain to climb.

Age Of Reason is higher rated than stable-companion Kite Wood but that won’t be the case for very much longer if he produces another abysmal effort as when a distant fifth of five behind All The Aces at Newmarket last time out. His second place finish in an Italian Group 1 back in June reads very well but he cannot be backed with any confidence now.

Fiulin is reasonably interesting based on his close second to Veracity in a Group 3 last season but he hasn't yet progressed as expected and will make limited appeal until displaying signs of a return to that sort of form. Halicarnassus is not a guaranteed stayer over this specialist trip and he has quite a bit to find now.

Certainly one of the most interesting runners is the Tom Tate trained Kings Gambit. A former Grade 1 winner in South Africa, he had a busy period in Nada Al Sheba earlier in the year and really caught the eye when accelerating late to take fourth place behind cheeky winner Bankable over an inadequate nine furlongs back in February.

On that occasion, the early pace was modest and he was unable to quicken to challenge until the race had gone beyond recall. After a couple more outings in the UAE, he left Herman Brown’s stables to join Tom Tate and, on his first start for new connections, he again produced an eye-catching effort when third behind Kirklees in the Group 2 Sky Bet York Stakes over ten furlongs.

Today’s step up in trip, allied to the fact that it’s only his second outing for Tom Tate, harbours plenty of hope that improvement will be forthcoming. He doesn’t have a lot to find with the best of these and, at double figure odds, Kings Gambit makes plenty each-way appeal to salvage some pride for the older brigade.

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