Masamah Bags King George Stakes
1 Masamah 4/1
A scintillating win by sprinter Masamah in the £85,000 Audi King George Stakes has teed up an attempt on the Group 1 Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York next month.
Yet trainer Kevin Ryan is also considering running the five-year-old gelding over six furlongs in September’s Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock Park before dropping back to five furlongs for Longchamp’s Prix de l’Abbaye.
Ryan, who trains Masamah for Dr Marwan Koukash, said: “We knew he was a good horse last year and he did really well over the winter having trained well through the autumn. Obviously, he’s gone from strength to strength and is very easy to train.
“I was a little worried about running him downhill here because he has so much natural speed and I thought a flatter track would suit better. Horses often love or loathe Goodwood, but he’s done it well.”
Of Koukash, Ryan said: “Marwan’s not been in the game a long time, but he’s fresh blood and that’s always good, especially in this period of time. He’s put a lot of money in and he understands some of the problems we experience when training horses.”
Koukash was equally generous in commenting on Ryan, saying: “The secret of success in this sport, when you come in as a novice or someone who knows nothing about it, is to be associated with people you can trust, and Kevin is one of those people. I met him three years ago and we’ve had fun since.”
Koukash added: “This is my first Group 2 winner in England, although we’ve won one or two overseas. Kevin and I have had some good winners this year - we’ve changed things around and it has worked out. This is my 56th winner of the year, and there have been some good ones among them in heritage handicaps and races like the Bunbury Cup. I enjoy the sport as much as ever if not more.”
Ryan said: “I don’t know how high this horse might go. I can’t see a problem with him staying six furlongs in the Sprint Cup. He’s very simple and doesn’t have to make the running. He can drop in. It will be Nunthorpe, then possibly the Sprint Cup then the Abbaye.”
Winning jockey Jamie Spencer said: “He doesn’t have to make the pace but he got a great start and, when you’ve got that, you don’t give it away. That’s what I told Emma [Spencer in the charity race] to do earlier but I think she forgot her instructions!
“He travelled beautifully and, with William Buick arrived upsides at halfway, I thought that he was getting pretty handy so I sent him on going down to the two-furlong pole. He is one of those horses who only does what you ask him and he gets five furlongs really well - five and a half is probably his best trip. Kevin has only had him two seasons and he has really, really improved - he’s gone from handicapper to Group winner now.
“He will go on any ground but he wouldn’t want it too soft - a bit of ease wouldn’t harm his chances because he is a big strong horse. He is just very, very fast when he breaks quickly. I missed it in the Dash at Epsom and it’s like Catch 22 - he either jumps or he doesn’t.
“He has improved a lot already this season, considering he was being beaten in handicaps. You can never a discount a sprinter when they get like this - he is very happy in himself.”
Victor Chandler and Paddy Power quote Masamah at 12/1 for the Nunthorpe Stakes, while William Hill offer 14/1, and retain Sole Power and Bated Breath as 6/1 joint-favourites.
AMOUR CEDES TO MASAMAH AGAIN
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