By Jon Lees
GB: Ed Walker is considering options for Investec Derby fifth English King with a tilt at the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes not yet ruled out.
The Lambourn trainer says the Bjorn Neilsen-owned colt has recovered well from his run at Epsom, where he was a strong finisher behind runaway winner Serpentine.
But future plans are fluid, not least because of the upheaval to the traditional racing programme wrought by the coronavirus pandemic which has meant the usual follow-on races were run before the Epsom Classic.
The G1 Grand Prix de Paris, a three-year-old-only prize at ParisLongchamp, remains a likely goal for the French-bred English King, but that race is not until September 13, having been moved from its traditional July 14 date.
“The Grand Prix de Paris would be right on our radar later in the year,” said Walker. “He’s come out of the Derby great and we are keeping all options open in between. The obvious options are the Gordon Stakes at Goodwood and the Great Voltigeur at York.
“In a normal year we would have had loads of options, the Irish Derby, King Edward VII Stakes, whatever. This year we are a little bit more restricted so I am not entirely sure at this point in time.”
English King, an impressive winner of the Lingfield Derby Trial, struggled to overcome a stall one draw at Epsom and only began to make headway in the closing stages, finishing in eye-catching fashion more than six lengths behind the winner.
He is as big as 25-1 with Paddy Power for the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, run at Ascot on July 26 – the next target for Enable, who will bid to become the first horse to win the midsummer showpiece three times.
“The King George is not impossible, we are keeping an eye on it,” said Walker. “It would be a big old ask. We will just see how he is at home later this week and not tie ourselves down to anything.”
Walker has more pressing matters at hand this weekend when he bids to land the John Smith’s Cup at York, one of the most competitive handicaps in the calendar, with Caradoc.
The five-year-old has been cut to 7-1 favourite by Coral, having been 12-1 at the start of the week.
“He is such a lovely horse,” said Walker. “I am almost disappointed that we are still in handicaps. It is the perfect race for him.”
John Smith’s Cup betting (Coral): 7 Caradoc, 8 Desert Icon, Solid Stone, 9 Harrovian, 10 Fifth Position, Great Example, 12 Baltic Baron, Good Birthday, Pivoine, Sinjaari, 14 Dark Jedi, 16 Sky Defender, 20 Afaak, Rise Hall, Tinandali, What’s The Story, 25 Anythingtoday, Archie Perkins, Euchen Glen, 33 Certain Lad, Wait Forever, 40 Nicholas – 33 Irv (reserve)
• Visit the Ascot King George page