A high-profile campaign for the rest of the year is in the pipeline for red-hot King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes favourite Postponed.
Now in the care of Roger Varian, having struck gold in the mid-summer showpiece 12 months ago for Luca Cumani, the Sheikh Mohammed Obaid-owned five-year-old is likely to be seen at York next month, should all go well at Ascot this weekend.
Varian outlined the Juddmonte International as the probable target in an attempt to land a Group One at a mile and a quarter with the son of Dubawi, who has three successes at the top level to his name over 12 furlongs.
He said: “We will see how we go on Saturday. Hopefully he will run well and come out of the race sound and healthy. We would like at some stage to see if he could win his Group One over 10 furlongs, and the race at York is the obvious race to try that.
“Thereafter it would probably be back up to a mile and a half and you would have to have the Arc in mind, and, who knows, possibly the Breeders’ Cup after that.”
Victory on would make Postponed only the third horse in history to win the King George twice, emulating Dahlia and Swain.
Speaking at a preview event in London, Varian added: “We are excited about running him Saturday, it’s a race I grew up watching and to be involved with a favourite like this is very exciting.
“Races like this are not easy, even though he is a short-priced favourite. I’ve been very happy with his training and if he turns up and puts in a performance like in Dubai and Epsom he will be very hard to beat.”
The race was given extra lustre at the supplementary stage with the addition of the Queen’s Hardwicke Stakes winner Dartmouth, at a cost of £75,000.
Varian said: “You have got to respect all the opposition. They are good horses trained by excellent trainers, but they have not achieved what he has achieved yet. He will have to be on his game and you can’t afford to have an off-day. Strictly on the form book, if you use Highland Reel as the line between Dartmouth he has got to improve again.
“He is a good horse, that is improving, and if you are talking about horses in their prime, he might not quite be there yet. These young horses, especially if they are lightly raced, you can’t dismiss them on the form because you don’t know if they have more improvement in them.”
Ascot’s director of racing Nick Smith said: “I’m delighted to have Postponed running in the King George. He is the top-rated mile-and-a-half horse in the world and the best racehorse in Europe.
“That is exactly the kind of standard you want to see in the King George.
“It is particularly pleasing this year that, although he sets a high standard, there is not a particularly small field and with the Hardwicke one-two we should have a credible test for him.”
Smith went on: “I think to most people, certainly visually after Dubai and Epsom, it looks like he probably is the best horse in the world over middle distances.
“It’s up to the likes of Harzand and Minding to step up to his standard. He could, and probably should, improve on his 124 rating, either at Ascot or subsequently, as, visually, to me personally, it looks like that is quite low.
“He has got his ideal conditions on Saturday and potentially the opportunity to build on that rating.”
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