Frankel's former lead horse First Mohican set to sign off in Queen's Prize
Jumps trainers starved of their usual action are out in force in the closing Betfred 'Watch Sky Sports In Our Shops' Queen's Prize Handicap (5.00) at Kempton, with Alan King and Kim Bailey fielding representatives.
King is double-handed with the prolific Inn The Bull leading the charge after completing a hat-trick over a mile and a half at the venue last Saturday.
The dual-purpose performer has proved a revelation since switching to the all-weather and King also runs the veteran First Mohican in the 13-runner contest, which may bring down the curtain on the career of the Henry Ponsonby-owned chestnut.
Ponsonby has already got a Queen’s Prize trophy on his mantelpiece, courtesy of Captain Miller, and King said of the ten-year-old First Mohican: ”He's been a tremendous servant for Henry and his team, but he hasn’t been showing us too much at home lately and may have had enough, so we're looking to find him a good home for his retirement."
He added: “His greatest day for us was when finishing second in the 2016 Cesarewitch at Newmarket, but he was Frankel’s regular galloping companion when with Henry Cecil, and that probably scarred him mentally.
"He's a great character and he’s won his owners almost £160,000 in prize-money. Hollie Doyle, who gets on so well with him, again rides, and it will be emotional when we have to say farewell to him."
Regarding Inn The Bull, who is tackling an extra half a mile, he said: "We're stepping him up to two miles, but he looks as if he'll stay further and he knuckled down well to get the job done over a mile and a half there last week, so even off a 5lb higher mark I’d hope he'd be competitive.”
King's counterpart Bailey has not had a runner over jumps since last Sunday but keeps the wheels turning with Sunblazer, his only Flat performer.
The eight-year-old is back from a break after his third to the decent Lord George at the track in January.
Bailey said: "Sunblazer likes fast ground, hence we run him on the all-weather, and he seems in good form after a break. He's up in class but Jim Crowley, who won on him at Newmarket last November, is back in the saddle.
"We're not making any plans beyond this as he must have rock-hard ground on turf and currently it's a long way from that."
Also two-handed in the contest is William Knight, who has the prolific Author's Dream backed up by the returning Gavlar.
Author's Dream is on a five-timer after his latest win at Lingfield last month and is now 30lb higher than when he kicked off his spree.
Knight said: "Author's Dream has been a slow burner on the all-weather but has really took off of late and I've trained him for this race ever since he won at Lingfield. It's hard to know how high he can climb, while this looks a good starting point for Gavlar."
ITV4 shows three races from the track, including the Betfred Mobile Handicap (2.05) in which Robert Cowell outdoes King and Knight by fielding three runners in the 5f contest.
The trio include the former Roger Varian-trained Jumira Bridge, who is making his first start out of Cowell's Six Mile Bottom yard after changing hands for 100,000gns at the Tattersalls horses-in-training sale in October.
The son of Invincible Spirit won two of his ten starts for Varian last year, both over this trip, and is joined by stablemates Evergate and Green Door.
Cowell said: "We've flooded the race but hopefully this will blow the cobwebs away for all three with a view to running them at the Craven meeting at Newmarket.
"Jumira Bridge is making his first start for us and is going well, and we also expect Green Door and Evergate to be competitive."
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