Royal Ascot preferred over Epsom for Awtaad


Awtaad: will stick to a mile rather than tackle the Investec Derby

  PICTURE: Patrick McCann (  

AWTAAD, winner of the Irish 2,000 Guineas, is set to stick to a mile and go to Royal Ascot rather than tackle the Investec Derby over four furlongs further.

The speed shown by Awtaad in downing Newmarket Classic winner Galileo Gold at the Curragh on Saturday has persuaded connections that the St James’s Palace Stakes next month is the right route.

Angus Gold, racing manager to owner Hamdan Al Maktoum, said about the Kevin Prendergast-trained son of Cape Cross on Sunday: “I think it would be hard to give up the chance of the St James’s Palace Stakes by jumping him up half-a-mile.

“He’s calm and relaxed and on pedigree will go further than a mile. I’m sure he will go a mile-and-a-quarter.  But he has the speed for a mile.

“He beat the English Guineas winner and the other top milers at the Curragh and would be a wonderful stallion prospect if he won the St James’s Palace against the best ones around. The Gurkha was very impressive in France and it will be very interesting if he turns up at Ascot.”

Awtaad had two-and-half lengths to spare over Galileo Gold at the finish and Gold added: “My thought is that there was no fluke about it. Frankie Dettori [on Galileo Gold] got held up on the inside but Awtaad was travelling like the best horse.”

The Gurkha is the top-priced 7-4 favourite for the St James’s Palace on June 14 with Awtaad 4-1 and Galileo Gold 5-1.


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