King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes sponsored by QIPCO
|Group 1, Ascot 15:50
3yo plus, 1m 4f, Class 1
|Saturday 26th July 2014
1 Taghrooda 7/2
2 Telescope 5/2F
3 Mukhadram 12/1
8 ran Distances: 3l, shd, 1¾l
TIME 2m 28.13s (fast by 0.77s)
Taghrooda is the first three-year-old filly since Pawneese in 1976 to win the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
Nick Luck: "She's looked so professional, she's moved on from her Oaks victory. Hanagan has won Oaks, Eclipse & the King George this season."
Paul Hanagan: "Amazing, and that just capped it all off. Such a buzz, something you'd never think of happening."
Taghrooda proved herself one of the great fillies of recent times when seeing off older rivals and colts to land the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Sponsored by QIPCO) under Paul Hanagan.
The unbeaten Investec Oaks winner came with a well-timed run to capture the famous contest by three lengths from Telescope, prompting winning trainer John Gosden to compare her with the best fillies he had trained.
"She's right up there and would be the best filly I've had over a mile and a half," said Gosden. "The Fugue would have beaten anything over a mile and a quarter and Royal Heroine, who I trained in America, was the best at a mile.
"Taghrooda has developed very strongly since the Oaks and she had two very tough nuts to crack up front today. They'd gone hard up there and given it plenty of toe. I thought those older horses would be hard to pass but she really showed her class and stamina.
"It was a special performance today and I am very glad that Sheikh Hamdan made the correct decision to come here. It was probably 85 per cent his decision to run here and it was a very bold move not running in the Irish Oaks.
"She has got a beautiful ride from Paul. They went very hard, he has waited patiently and she has picked them up and shown her class in the last furlong. I am thrilled - it was a great ride and a good bit of placing. I think Sheikh Hamdan better place all of my horses now!
"I thought it was a bold and good plan to come here and I thought it was a bit defensive going to the other race. You don't know where the three-year-old colt and filly are (in the overall pecking order) until you run and she has put in a great performance today with a lovely ride. I couldn't be more thrilled with her.
"This really keeps this race alive for three-year-olds again. It always was a great all-aged race like the Arc and it's now the same again.
"If she's in good order then the Yorkshire Oaks would seem a good place to go next then it's up to the boss whether he thinks we should go to the Arc. The Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe would make a lot sense but it is entirely up to Sheikh Hamdan. She's still a three-year-old filly and there's a decent weight allowance.
Runner-up Telescope started 5/2 favourite and looked likely to win until the filly swooped past him to score by three lengths, but Harry Herbert, who heads the Highclere syndicate that owns the second horse, said: "It was disappointing not to win, but it would be wrong to call it depressing to finish second in a King George - crickey no!
"It went according to plan - the pace of the race was right and I thought it was setting it up for Telescope, but I could see Sheikh Hamdan's colours on the winner travelling as well or better. Our horse has run a cracking race and has never been out of the first two. There's plenty to look forward to."
Trainer William Haggas has never been shy about his fondness for Mukhadram, and he was beaming after the five-year-old took third place, a short head behind Telescope.
Carrying the same Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum colours that were seen on winner Taghrooda, Mukhadram, under Dane O'Neill, was stepping up to 12 furlongs for the first time. Haggas said: "He's run his guts out - the filly [Taghrooda] looked marvellous and has won really well, but I'm as proud as punch of my horse. He ran a really solid race and he got the trip - I think - although it was Dane's view that it was guts that kept him in it.
"I'm thrilled for the owner - I'm sorry I haven't won, but I'm thrilled for the owner. I think this horse is pretty good at 10 and 12 furlongs and he loves racing. He wants to get on and get racing, so the Juddmonte Stakes could be next.
"He's a beautiful horse to start with, and he's tough and the most genuine horse. He'll do for me."
"He's beaten Romsdal [his stablemate, who finished seventh of the eight starters] easily, so what does that say about the Derby form [in which Romsdal was third]?"
Hugo Lascelles, racing manager to Eagle Top's owner Lady Bamford, said: "We were very pleased with him - it was only his fourth start. The filly [Taghrooda] is unbelievable and the second and third were hard and professional. So we are encouraged and it was worth running as he did not disgrace himself at all. There is plenty to look forward to with Eagle Top. I would say he will have a bit of a break now - he is in the Leger but I don't think he will go there. There are no plans yet."
King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes
(Sponsored By Qipco) (British Champions Series) (Group 1)
£1,000,000 added, 3yo plus, 1m 4f, Class 1
Going: Good, Good to Soft in places