King George next for Golden Horn

Golden Horn’s owner-breeder Anthony Oppenheimer has given the strongest indication so far his champion three-year-old is likely to retire at the end of the season.

The Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, for which the John Gosden-trained colt would have to be supplemented, could be his swansong as long as the ground was not soft at Longchamp on October 4.

After Golden Horn’s unprecedented treble of the Dante, the Derby and the Coral-Eclipse, the race Oppenheimer would dearly love to win now is the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes as his company, De Beers, were the race sponsors from 1972 to 2006.

“If the horse is looking good and John has no problem with him, of course we’ll go for the King George,” said Oppenheimer.

“It would be the most exciting thing for me as the company I work for, De Beers, sponsored the race for 34 years and I was closely involved with the sponsorship.

“I think the problem with the Arc and the Champion Stakes is the ground. Often both are run on soft ground and I don’t think that would suit his action at all.

“Good to soft wouldn’t be a problem, if it was worse than that it could be a problem.

“I’ve no intention of selling the horse. I would want to have some sort of control over the horse when he goes to stud and I want him to go to stud, if possible, in Newmarket.

“As for racing next year, I am not enthusiastic. It’s not something I really feel strongly about, but I would prefer not to.

“The Arc could easily be his last race. The Arc late entry (stage) is only about three and a half days before the race so we could wait and see.

“If the ground was heavy or soft we wouldn’t enter.”

As well as the King George and the Arc, other races that might come under consideration are the Juddmonte International at York, the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown and the Breeders’ Cup in America.

“I spoke to John Gosden earlier this year and he wasn’t at all enthusiastic about going to the Breeders’ Cup and I rather agree with him, but that was a while ago,” said Oppenheimer.

“It’s a rather tricky race but I wouldn’t rule out anything, especially if we have heavy ground in the autumn and we can’t run him.

“Maybe we have to do something like that, but it’s certainly not on the menu at the moment.

“He can’t do everything, unfortunately. If he went for the King George, I’m sure he wouldn’t go to York, but if we have to miss the King George he has already shown in the Dante that he loves the course and the distance, so it’s no problem.

“I can’t decide myself what is his best distance. He certainly stays a mile and a half, but maybe a mile and a quarter is better for him – I don’t know. We’ll see how he comes out of the Eclipse before we decide on the next race.

“Nothing is ruled out at all in relation to future plans.”

Gosden believes it will be at least a week before deciding whether to point Golden Horn towards the King George.

“I’m very pleased with him. He ate up everything last night,” Gosden told At The Races.

“He had a good lead out this morning. He had a good pick of grass and is on very good terms with himself.

That is always a major bonus out of any race.

“You’ve got to watch your horse over the next week to 10 days.

“Obviously if everything is fine I will firm up on it later.”


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