Godolphin not expecting to add to Ascot tally

Godolphin admit Laverock has it to do if he is to bolster the tremendous record of Sheikh Mohammed’s operation in Saturday’s King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.

Godolphin admit Laverock has it to do if he is to bolster the tremendous record of Sheikh Mohammed’s operation in Saturday’s King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.

Along with the late Dick Hern, the Dubai-based outfit’s trainer Saeed bin Suroor has the joint-best record of all time in the ultra-prestigious event, with five previous successes.

Lammtarra (1995), Swain (1997-98), Daylami (1999) and Doyen (2004) have all landed the spoils in the past, but despite this year’s renewal being universally described as weak, Godolphin’s racing manager Simon Crisford is keen not to talk up their probable representative.

A dual Group One winner when trained by Carlos Laffon-Parias in France last year, Laverock was a letdown in his early efforts in Dubai, although he showed more promise on his British return when dead-heating for second in the Princess of Wales’s Stakes at the Newmarket July meeting.

“He’s not a confirmed runner, but he’s likely,” reported Crisford. “He has alternative engagements overseas, but at the moment I would suggest he’s likely.

“We’ll make a decision in the next 48 hours, but if there was a bit of ease in the ground that will suit him.

“He seems to have done well since his last race at Newmarket, so he might just take his chance. He ran to his form, but he needs to be a lot better than that if he is to be competitive in the King George and he won’t be – that’s him.

“He’s a very solid, nice middle-distance prospect, but he more than likely lacks the brilliance that is required to win a King George. However, it should still be a nice race to let him take his chance.”

Laverock, a 12-1 chance with Coral and VC Bet, will have to face seven rivals, headed by likely short-priced favourite Dylan Thomas.

As expected, leading three-year-olds Authorized and Soldier Of Fortune were taken out, but Aidan O’Brien still has three possibles.

Irish Derby and Champion Stakes winner Dylan Thomas is the obvious first string, having only found Notnowcato and Manduro too good in his latest two outings in the Tattersalls Gold Cup and the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Former St Leger winner Scorpion, beaten by another possible rival Maraahel in the Hardwicke Stakes last time, and Yellowstone could also represent the Ballydoyle handler.

Youmzain will bid to bounce back from a below-par run in France last time out, while the popular Sergeant Cecil may drop back in trip from his usual challenges over two miles-plus.

The international challenge comes from Prince Flori, trained by Sascha Smrczek in Germany.

Bookmakers are not too excited about the race, and Coral spokesman David Stevens said: “It’s hard to be anything other than disappointed with the lack of entries for this showpiece contest.

“But Dylan Thomas has the best Group One form in the book and his odds are likely to shorten further in the coming days.”

King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes

Coral bet: 11-10 Dylan Thomas, 4-1 Scorpion, 5-1 Maraahel, 6-1 Youmzain, 12-1 Laverock, Prince Flori, 20-1 Yellowstone, 25-1 Sergeant Cecil.

VC Bet: Evens Dylan Thomas, 4-1 Scorpion, 11-2 Maraahel, 7-1 Youmzain, 12-1 Laverock, 20-1 Prince Flori, 25-1 Sergeant Cecil, Yellowstone.

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