Cut! One-time Derby favourite English King set to lose crown jewels in Australia

Horse Racing English King
English King: former Derby favourite set to gelded after disappointing start to career in Australia. Photo: Oddschecker

By Jon Lees

Australia: English King, the one-time 2020 Derby favourite who moved to Australia after changing hands for nearly £1 million, is to be gelded.

After the latest of three disappointing runs for his new connections in which he finished last of 12 in a Moonee Valley G3 [September 24], his trainer Mike Moroney has revealed the four-year-old will not be racing again as a colt.

“As soon as the sprint went on, and I know it was The Valley, but the rider said when he asked him to go, he just didn’t want any part of it,” Moroney told Racing And Sports.

Two years ago English King, trained by Ed Walker for Bjorn Nielsen, announced himself as a lead candidate for the Derby with an impressive victory in the Lingfield Derby Trial, in course record time, which propelled him to the front of the betting for the Epsom Classic.

Under Frankie Dettori at Epsom, he was sent off 100-30 second favourite but after an awkward start was left with plenty of ground to make up, eventually finishing fifth behind Serpentine.

He had two more starts for Walker, finishing fourth in the Gordon Stakes and sixth of ten in the G1 Grand Prix de Paris, after which the decision was taken to enter him in Tattersalls Autumn Horses In Training Sale where he was sold for 925,000gns, a record amount for a colt at the sale, with high hopes his G1 potential could be unlocked in Australia.

Quoted after the sale, Moroney’s bloodstock agent brother Paul said: “English King’s track record performance winning the Lingfield Derby Trial beating St Leger runner-up Berkshire Rocco was one of the most breathtakingly dominant performances anywhere this year. He is clearly a highly talented colt with loads of quality and we are thrilled to have secured him. 

“Through their joint sire Camelot and with similar race records at the same stage, English King maps the same as last weekend’s Cox Plate winner Sir Dragonet.”

He added: “He’s certainly an exciting addition to the team and our first time playing at this very high level so one could say the pressure is on for him to perform.”

Walker said: “I would have loved to have hung on to him, but it is a great result and Bjorn puts a lot into the game and it is great to get a big result like that.”

He added: “I am very grateful to the guys who bought him and wish them every bit of luck, and I hope he wins the Melbourne Cup for them. I think he is tailor-made for the Cup – he’ll stay, he travels, he loves fast ground and I will be thrilled if he does that for them.”

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