Author: Alan Kelly
Published: 15:26 30/06/2015
Ascot's King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes on Saturday 25th July could well turn out to be below the standard normally associated with the great mid-summer showpiece, with this season's leading middle-distance three-year old's, Golden Horn, Jack Hobbs and French Derby winner New Bay, far from certain to take part in the £1.15 million contest while the current ante-post favourite Snow Sky needs to be supplemented for the race run over a mile and a half.
Sir Michael Stoute's son of Nayef ran out an impressive winner of Royal Ascot's Hardwicke Stakes recently but few would argue that the front-running tactics adopted by jockey Pat Smullen went some way toward's that much improved effort and with second and third Eagle Top and Postponed likely to renew rivalry there is no guarantee that the form will be upheld on this occasion. While those three horses have plenty of decent form to their name none have yet been successful at Group 1 level making current odds about the trio far from attractive.
Another Stoute inmate Telescope has disappointed too many times to suggest he can take a race of this nature while several other horses quoted by bookmakes, mainly The Grey Gatsby, Free Eagle, Dolniya and Karpino are unlikely to feature among the final runners. The unbeaten Mahsoob is an interesting possibility but has yet to win outside of handicap company and at the 9-1 available with Betway the French-trained Flintshire looks easily the best early value for the race.
A mile and a half on good to firm ground is ideal for Andre Fabre's five-year-old who has plenty of top class form to his name, the best of which was a two length second behind Treve in last year's Prix De L'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp. With the son of Dansili likely to get those conditions at Ascot and on the back of a great effort to run the supermare Treve to a hard-earned length and a quarter at Saint-Cloud at the weekend the horse must take a deal of beating at the Berkshire track, with his trainer confirming Flintshire bang on course for the race.
Should John Gosden's Epsom Derby hero Golden Horn prove successful in this Saturday's Coral-Eclipse connections may be tempted to send the horse out three weeks later but with the Arc the long-range target asking the son of Cape Cross to run for the fifth time in a short period may be a step too far for the unbeaten colt, leaving York's Juddmonte International as the logical way to go following a well earned mid-summer break. If that proves to be the case it would be no surprise to see the French runner vie for King George favouritism next month.
2 Points each-way Flintshire 9-1 Betway