Varian: Soft ground should hold no fears for Steel

Roger Varian insists King Of Steel, one of the favourites for Saturday’s King George And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes at Ascot, will not be inconvenienced should the ground turn soft.

With the forecast for further rain and heavy showers over the early part of next week, Varian is keeping a close eye on ground conditions for the King Edward VII Stakes winner and Derby runner-up.

“He’s in good form,” said Varian. “He’s done all we have asked of him and we are looking forward to it.

“He handled soft ground last season and while he hasn’t really been tested on it since he has been with us, there is no reason to think he won’t handle it.”

The three-year-old son of Wootton Bassett has really come into his own this term and was a fine second behind Auguste Rodin at Epsom, before franking that form when powering to a three-and-a-half-length success in Group Two company at Royal Ascot.

“The forecast is a bit unsettled, but I don’t think rain will be an inconvenience to him – he’s a big individual and he should get through it. Ascot always produce nice ground and we don’t have any worries, really,” he added.

Hukum was the main market mover for the 12-furlong highlight over the weekend, with Coral now offering 9-2 about the Owen Burrows-trained horse, following support for the six-year-old whose best form is on softer ground.

Dual Derby winner Auguste Rodin is the firm’s 5-2 favourite, ahead of King Of Steel at 3-1 and Emily Upjohn at 7-2.

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