Kingston Hill in peak form for Voltigeur

St Leger favourite Kingston Hill puts his Classic credentials on the line in the Neptune Investment Management Great Voltigeur Stakes at York today.

Trainer Roger Varian is not yet fully committing his stable star to Doncaster, but admits a strong performance in the Group Two, which has in recent years produced several Leger winners, is likely to put another trip north on the agenda.

Runner-up in the Derby behind Australia, he possibly found the trip too sharp and the ground too fast at Sandown in the Eclipse last time out.

With Varian’s stable jockey Andrea Atzeni required to ride Postponed for his retained owner, Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum, Ryan Moore comes in for the ride. “It is genuine good ground so we have no worries in that regard, and a nice, galloping track like York should suit him, you would think,” said Varian.

“He’s going back up in trip and the ground won’t be as quick as it was in the Eclipse.

“Ryan hasn’t been to sit on him but he’s a very straightforward horse that takes no knowing.

“Ryan sits on plenty of horses cold and Ryan is Ryan, I don’t expect that to be an issue.

“He wouldn’t be 100 per cent certain to run in the St Leger if he did go and win at York, but we have talked about it enough for it to be on the agenda without it being set in stone.

“I think it would be fair to say if it all went well and the trip didn’t look beyond him then it might look the logical thing to do without it being a given.”

Not far behind Kingston Hill at Epsom was Red Galileo in fifth but he was tailed off next time in the Gordon Stakes at Gooodwood.

“It was far too quick for him the last day,” said trainer Ed Dunlop.

“Ryan (Moore) said it was like a road and he let him come home in his own time.

“He’s been in good form since and will wear a tongue-strap as he got his tongue over the bit last time.

“The plan after Epsom was Goodwood but that went wrong so we’ll see where we are after York.”

Aidan O’Brien is hoping Granddukeoftuscany can stake his claim for a place in the St Leger with a bold display after winning his maiden by 19 lengths.

“Granddukeoftuscany had a nice run at the Curragh first time,” said the Ballydoyle handler.

“He obviously improved and then he won his maiden very easily.

“He is a horse that got a mile and a half well the last time, so you would think and hope that he would probably get further in time.”

Asked whether Granddukeoftuscany would come under consideration for the St Leger, O’Brien said: “We take one race at a time, but it is a race that could suit him.

“It is a big step up from a maiden to a Group Two, so we’ll see how he gets on and discuss plans after that.

“But obviously we would be hoping he might turn into that type of horse.”

O’Brien also runs Indian Maharaja, who won both his starts as a juvenile but was well beaten in a Guineas trial and has not been seen since suffering a slight setback.

“Indian Maharaja is a horse that won two from two last year,” said O’Brien.

“First time out this year in bad ground in Leopardstown, he just pulled a muscle in his back, but he is back ready to run.

“He has only run at a mile, so this will be new territory for him.”

Postponed won the Listed Glasgow Stakes when last seen for Luca Cumani.

“The manner in which Postponed won at Hamilton was impressive but the Great Voltigeur field will be much more of a challenge,” said the Newmarket handler.

“He’s been a bit of a playboy his whole life but he’s starting to understand what is required of him and he appears more professional in his homework since his last run.

“Providing he gets good or better ground, we hope to see further improvement.”

Sir Michael Stoute’s Snow Sky was fancied for the Derby in some quarters after winning the Lingfield Derby Trial, but he missed the Classic due to a last-minute setback.

He was fourth in the King Edward VII at Ascot but regained the winning thread in a blanket finish to the Gordon Stakes at Goodwood, where he did well to win considering he had got very warm beforehand.

Jockey James Doyle told At The Races: “I was pleased with him at Goodwood, I think people probably went over the top about him beforehand. “He’s a bit of a playboy. He just got a little bit hot (at Goodwood), but it was nothing to worry about.”

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