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The weekend’s racing at Ascot


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  • Looking ahead to the big races at this weekend’s Ascot meeting

    Golan, carrying the colours of the late Lord Weinstock who died on Tuesday, could end an emotional week for the family with a victory in Saturday’s King George V1 and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes at Ascot.

    The Coolmore breeding operation bought a controlling interest in Golan last year, and will stand the son of Spectrum in Ireland as a stallion next year.

    Golan won last year’s 2000 Guineas and the Prix Niel in France. He was also second to Galileo in the Derby and ran a fine race to finish fourth to Sakhee in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

    He seems to perform at his peak when fresh and trainer Sir Michael Stoute has targeted this high-summer showpiece for the colt’s re-introduction.

    “It is a big ask against super-fit horses in mid-summer,” he concedes. “But I have been pleased with Golan’s preparation and he has matured well since last year.

    Grandera represents the Maktoum family’s Godolphin stable in preference to Sakhee, who would not have been suited by the fast ground. Grandera won a hotly contested Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot with Nayef back in fourth.

    Reports from Marcus Tregoning’s stable suggest that Nayef is returning to the form which saw him run away with the Sheema Classic in Dubai in the spring.

    French interests are represented by the brilliant filly Aquarelliste, while the German Derby winner Boreal, successful in this season’s Coronation Cup at Epsom, travels with a lot of confidence.

    Stoute should also take the Princess Margaret Stakes with his impressive Newmarket maiden winner Russian Rhythm, who may well put herself in the frame among the favourites for next year’s 1000 Guineas.

    The £150,000 Tote International Stakes looks an impossible race to solve. Topweight Tillerman isnot out of it, despite carrying 9st 11lb. But he may not concede 23lb to the David Nicholls-trained Scotty’s Future.

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