Postponed delivers in a classic

Forty years since that epic duel with Grundy and Bustino, Ascot racegoers were treated to another genuinely spectacular finish to the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes on Saturday.

Postponed delivers in a classic

Golden Horn’s dramatic late defection robbed the great race of its headline act, but Postponed capably filled that significant void as he edged out old sparring partner Eagle Top in a pulsating finish.

Unlike when the pair battled it out in the Hardwicke Stakes at the Royal meeting last month, the chance of a hard-luck story this time was slim, with Romsdal setting a good gallop from the start.

To ensure there would be no repeat of their latest battle, Andrea Atzeni, replacing Adam Kirby aboard Postponed, positioned his mount just in behind the early leader.

Frankie Dettori, who had switched to Eagle Top in light of Golden Horn’s absence, was content to anchor his mount at the rear of the field.

There was little change in position until Postponed ranged up on Romsdal at the three-furlong pole to set his stall for home.

Racing on down to the furlong pole, it looked as though Gosden was in line to win the race for a second successive year as Eagle Top bridged the gap between the pair, before briefly going on.

It was not to be, though, as Postponed demonstrated the best of his battling qualities to get his head back in front at the right time and prevail by a nose.

Cumani said: “I would have thought that the natural progression is the Arc, which is another big challenge taking on Treve, Jack Hobbs and Golden Horn, but he is King George winner so he won’t be going back to Catterick.”

While the Arc may be his next major target this season, winning owner Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum says Postponed will be kept in training next season.

He said: “He was already entered in the Arc but we will definitely go for it now as we know he acts on this ground. I will also be keeping him in training next year.

“Whatever people say, I am still happy with Adam (Kirby).

“He has ridden him three times this year and was not lucky on him.

“He will ride everything for me at Goodwood over the coming week.”

While the result of the photo-finish may not have gone in his favour, Gosden was still pleased with Eagle Top and Romsdal.

He said: “Eagle Top run a great race. He was forced wide to come round the Italian horse in the straight which probably cost him.

“He will come back next year to try win it. Romsdal also run a lovely race.”

There were, however, repercussions for Atzeni as the jockey was hit with a six-day suspension (August 8-13) for using his whip above the permitted level and down the shoulder in the forehand position on three occasions.

Dettori, too, was banned four days (August 8-11) for using whip above the permitted level.

Clever Cookie finished fifth and trainer Peter Niven felt the trip was too short for him.

“He’s come out the race grand and we’ve found something out about him — a mile and a half is too short for him these days,” Niven said.

“He did OK and wasn’t totally disgraced as he was only beaten about six lengths in a Group One.

“I also felt that tacky stuff on the back straight wasn’t totally to his liking.

“What he needs is genuinely nice ground — it’s only the press that have made out that he’s a heavy-ground horse.

“We’ll give Goodwood a miss and we’ll be aiming him at the Lonsdale Cup at York.

“Later in the season there’s also Donny (Doncaster Cup) and the Irish Leger and races in France.

“His big aim, though, as I’ve said all along, is the staying race at Ascot on Champions Day.”

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