UK preview Thursday

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UK preview Thursday

ED WALKER

Goodwood on Thursday can provide significant consolation for Yazaman and English King – who have both run with credit but no glory in high-profile assignments of late.

English King was in the best of company when, along with 14 others, he was unable to peg back shock winner Serpentine in the Investec Derby at Epsom.

Ed Walker’s son of Camelot was within a length of being best of the rest, however – and although the John Pearce Racing Gordon Stakes will be the other way round of course, it presents a test which should very much suit him over the Derby distance.

He needs to turn that differential of a length back round in his favour against Epsom runner-up Khalifa Sat, already twice a course winner here and therefore likely to run up to his best.

Al Aasy, a convincing Newmarket winner at this same Group 3 level last time, is another very significant opponent too.

The impression, nonetheless, is that the best is most definitely yet to come from English King, who was a well-touted second favourite in the Derby and ran well enough in an unconventional edition of that race to strongly indicate that he can set the record straight.

He finished with purpose, having started slowly and found himself in a highly-unpromising position.

If just a little less goes wrong for him and Frankie Dettori here, English King should restate his pretensions as a colt of the highest class.

Qatar Richmond Stakes contender Yazaman, conversely, has done nothing wrong on any of his three appearances – apart from running into Tactical at both Royal Ascot and Newmarket.

But for the Queen’s dual winner, Yazaman would have a Listed and Group 2 success on his CV already, having lost by 1.25 lengths each time but beaten 23 others in all.

William Haggas’ juvenile was a debut winner in a small field on lively ground at Yarmouth before that – and on the collateral basis of his performances in the Windsor Castle and then July Stakes, this quick six furlongs presents a perfect opportunity for a deserved Group 2 victory.

The feature race on a top-quality card is the Group One Qatar Nassau Stakes, in which globe-trotting Japanese mare Deirde is set to defend her title after last year’s 20-1 win.

She will be considerably shorter odds to do so, and has plausible prospects of achieving the rare feat, having run with much credit in four subsequent Group 1s, most recently fifth behind Ghaiyyath and Enable in the Coral-Eclipse.

On balance, though, Nazeef has built up a sufficiently convincing body of work in her six successive wins to be a worthy favourite this time.

John Gosden’s filly has prevailed by an aggregate of barely a length in her three successes this season yet has been highly-efficient nonetheless on her rise through the ranks from Listed to Group 1 winner.

There is every chance she may not look as if she is going to get it done again at some stage here as well. But this move up to 2000m is expected to suit the Falmouth Stakes heroine fine.

She appears to love a battle, and it is on the cards that she will duly double her top-level tally – despite the presence of another tough opponent, in Donnacha O’Brien’s French Oaks winner Fancy Blue.

Different Face may well have been flattered by her length second to Yazaman when they both made their debuts at Yarmouth.

Even so, unlike him, she is a subsequent winner – readily on the all-weather at Lingfield, over the minimum trip.

Simon and Ed Crisford’s two-year-old will be reunited with William Buick as she sticks to the minimum trip and can bag a decent prize in the closing Tatler Nursery Handicap.

Over in Ireland, the hugely competitive Guinness Galway Hurdle is the highlight on day four of the Festival.

It would doubtless give Olly Murphy huge pleasure to take the prize back to Warwickshire with him – and although the home challenge will be tough to master, Hunters Call gives him feasible prospects of doing so.

Both Aramon and Aramax – watch your bets – are sure to be popular for their respective heavyweight yards. But after Hunters Call’s comeback victory in a good race at Southwell proved he retains his ability at the age of 10 after a very long break, he may just be able to deliver a famous victory for Murphy. – Sportinglife.com

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