Friday, 13 July 2012
: A decision on whether star galloper Nathaniel will defend his King George crown at Ascot next week is still yet to be made.
| The in-form John Gosden|
Photo by Racing and Sports
The winner of last years dramatic running of the King George, Nathaniel
, made a most impressive return to racing, taking out the Group 1 Eclipse Stakes at Sandown last week, continuing what has been a dream summer so far for trainer John Gosden.
The win saw him confirm his spot at the high-end of markets for Ascot's summer showpiece but, speaking after promising three-year-old Shantaram's win in the opening race at Newmarket's July Festival, Gosden warned that it was not a mere formality that Nathaniel would line up.
“We were quite pleasantly surprised at the way he went first time out,” he said.
“He'd had a slight setback, a respiratory problem.
“Ascot is just two weeks after [The Eclipse] this year, which isn't ideal, its close.
“It will come down to the horse. His weight, his blood and so on.”
The win of Shantaram
, another colt by Galileo, in the Group 3 Bahrain Trophy at Newmarket potentially further strengthens Gosden's hand in the final classic of the season, the St Leger at Doncaster. Masked Marvel
won the Bahrain Trophy for Gosden last season before going on to Leger success and the stable has another highly regarded pair in Michelangelo
and Thought Worthy
shaping as worthy candidates for racings oldest classic.
“They are all in different ownership, so they could all line up,” said Gosden.
“I will have to speak to the owners and in the end the decision will come down to them.”