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66-1 shot Protected Guest expected to run 'massive race' in Duke of Edinburgh

George Margarson: excited about the prospects of Protected Guest
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4.40 Ascot
Duke of Edinburgh Stakes (Handicap) (Class 2) | 1m4f | 3yo+ | ITV/SKY

George Margarson is no stranger to big handicap Ascot success. The likes of Excellent Guest and Atavus have put him in the spotlight at various times, and Young Mick landed this race in 2006.

The bookmakers don’t appear to respect Protected Guest, his runner in the prestigious 1m4f handicap this year – bet365 quoted 66-1 on Thursday afternoon – but Margarson is adamant the five-year-old will hugely outrun his odds.

“This has been the plan since last year,” Margarson said. “I’ll be very disappointed if he doesn’t run a massive race. He’s a proper horse, and has come out of his Newmarket run this month very well; he’s spot-on for Friday.”

Margarson believes Protected Guest will cope with underfoot conditions which are forecast to soften on the penultimate day of the meeting.

“His best form is on faster ground, but he’s a big, big horse,” Margarson added. “I don’t see why he wouldn’t act on good to soft.”

What they say

Saeed bin Suroor, trainer of Dubai Future
He did well in Dubai over the winter and has been working nicely. He goes there with a chance.

John Gosden, trainer of El Misk
He has plenty of weight, and is not sure to act on the going as he is a top-of-the-ground horse.

William Haggas, trainer of Dal Horrisgle and Al Muffrih
Dal Horrisgle is on a bit of a fact-finding mission. I’m not sure about him on soft ground. He’s talented, but may be better for the race. Al Muffrih also has a lot of talent. He’s been off a long time, and isn’t straightforward to train.

Clive Cox, trainer of Getchagetchagetcha
He’s shown an ability to cope with easier ground, won over a mile and a half last year and we’re happy. He’s fresh and well coming into this.

Jim Boyle, trainer of Dolphin Vista
He’s a grand horse and he wants soft ground. I suspect he’s a bit high in the handicap, and we’re not sure whether he’ll stay a mile and a half. It’s nice to have a horse like him, and it would be lovely if he ran a solid race. It’s a nice starting point for him.

Jack Channon, assistant to Mick Channon, trainer of Koeman
He’s in great form. He enjoyed a good start to the year in Dubai and loves the track. The trip is perfect, but if it went really, really soft that would be an issue.

Alastair Donald, racing manager to King Power Racing, owners of Johnny Drama and Good Birthday
Johnny Drama should like the ground, but has an awkward draw in stall 20. He has the ability to win a nice handicap. Good Birthday will also enjoy the softer ground. We’re excited about his prospects for the year. If one mile and four furlongs doesn’t stretch his stamina he’ll have a good chance.

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Good Birthday will also enjoy the softer ground. We’re excited about his prospects for the year
E.W. Terms