King George Update – Monday 21st July 2014

After a bonanza of sport over a fine weekend, we now have today’s thrilling Lord’s conclusion to a test that looks certain to produce a winner, with everything riding on it for both sides – India are looking for their first away win in 15 tests and England their first win in 9, with Alistair Cook not the only senior needing a result badly.

I’m posting here for a racing bet though – and that is Eagle Top in the King George on Saturday. Supplemented this morning, he now gives balance to a field that has already been boosted by the addition of runaway Oaks winner Taghrooda, both of whom will face Telescope, for whom everything clicked into place at Royal Ascot.

Magician was my idea of the winner this morning, and he stays in despite having been a big drifter on Betfair this morning – at the time of writing he’s still 17/2 on Betfair and 8’s on Betdaq, while even the 5/1 being offered with fixed odds markets (he’s 9/2 with Ladbrokes, so read into that what you will). Should he run, he makes obvious appeal at what may be his ideal trip boasting, to my mind, the strongest form in the race.

It’s a surprise to see Eagle Top at 8/1, and he is advised on two counts – firstly that he looks to be the value of the race, and secondly, that when taking apart his field in the King Edward at Royal Ascot, he looked to be a group 1 horse in the making.

The son of pivotal has long been highly rated, and justified short odds when winning easily on his Newbury debut, and he was expected to win well off a mark of 92 at Leicester next time back, but was found to be wrong (a blood test confirmed), when having been a flat footed fourth, once again backed like defeat was out of the question.

The same confidence wasn’t to be found at Royal Ascot, but that was understandably so given the step up in class he was taking, however it was notable that William Buick chose to ride him ahead of Derby 6th Western Hymn even before that one’s withdrawal and he was an empathic winner in the end, coming home nearly four lengths clear of the extremely well backed favourite Adelaide.

The O’Brien horse – hammered from 3-1 in the morning to 6-5 at post time – is an excellent form marker, having been second in the Hocqaurt and then a very dominant winner at the Curragh of the Gallinule in conditions that suited him, a result underlined by the second’s win against older horses since, while his Grade 1 second in a strong Flower Bowl invitational is reassuring. Eagle Top’s margin and style of victory over him suggested he was going to take the step up in class in his stride and on a line through the runner up his form isn’t that far off Telescope’s Hardwicke – a weak race this year in all truth – or even Tagrhooda’s Oaks, as impressive as that was.

Of the others, Flintshire is a lurker at the bottom of the market granted his fast ground – something he didn’t get last time at Saint-Cloud – and is one to keep in mind while Mukahdram (if he runs) and Trading Leather won’t find it as easy to get away here as they did at Sandown in the Eclipse. The ground could end up being too quick for Noble Mission to strut his fronting running tuff (difficult with two pacemakers) while Romsdal has been left in but has several other targets including the St Leger as a named target, and this will be too quick for Brown Panther who has had a hard season and needs a rest.

Advice

2 pts each/way Eagle Top, King George, Saturday (8/1 general)

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