John Gosden: holds a strong hand in the King GeorgePICTURE: Sam Lawrie
Gosden excited by three-year-old King George trio
JOHN GOSDEN said on Monday it was "very good news" for the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes that a trio of three-year-olds are in the mix for Saturday's £1 million Ascot showpiece - and as the trainer of all three of them he is particularly relishing the clash of generations.
His Oaks winner Taghrooda was installed 2-1 joint-favourite with long-time market leader Telescope by Ladbrokes in their first show on the contest, for which Gosden supplemented King Edward VII Stakes winner Eagle Top at a cost to owner/breeder Lady Bamford of £75,000.
Gosden and Taghrooda's owner Hamdan Al Maktoum sidestepped last Saturday's Irish Oaks to wait for Ascot, and Gosden's stable also has Derby third Romsdal in the reckoning.
"We had been talking about the possibility of Eagle Top being supplemented since the King Edward VII and Taghrooda is a very exciting filly in her own right," Gosden said.
"Taghrooda running complicated matters from the point of view of persuading Lady Bamford to supplement but, goodness, it's exciting to have some classy three-year-olds in the race. It's very good news for the race, and Taghrooda gives it great depth.
"The allowances she receives for age and sex are a factor, although a three-year-old filly hasn't been successful since the 1970s. But Taghrooda is a high-class filly and it's great sportsmanship on her owner Sheikh Hamdan's part to run her in the race. As she retires at the end of the year, it will be the only chance she gets."
The allowance Gosden refers to - Taghrooda will receive 15lb from the older runners and 3lb from her stablemates - has been key to Ladbrokes' pricing of the race, but not the only factor.
Their spokesman David Williams explained: "We think that with the weight she gets and the fact connections were so keen to go here rather than to the Curragh for the Irish Oaks she could be the real deal.
"She looked superb at Epsom and we like her a great deal, whereas while Telescope was impressive at Royal Ascot, he's by no means bombproof and Sir Michael Stoute is still talking in terms of him being a work in progress."