Audi King George Stakes 2011  

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Masamah Bags King George Stakes

1 Masamah 4/1
2 Amour Propre 6/1
3 Group Therapy 16/1
NR: Swiss Diva
11 ran Distances: 1¾l, ½l, 1l
TIME 56.67s (fast by 0.43s)

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.

© Racehorse Photos


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.


Starting Price
Beaten Distance
K A Ryan
J P Spencer
9st 0lbs
4 - 1
Amour Propre
H Candy
Dane O'Neill
9st 0lbs
6 - 1
1 3/4 length
Group Therapy
T D Barron
Jim Crowley
9st 0lbs
16 - 1
1/2 length
Beyond Desire
R Varian
N Callan
8st 11lbs
9 - 1
1 length
George Baker
Matthew Davies
9st 0lbs
14 - 1
2 lengths
Breathless Kiss
K A Ryan
P Makin
8st 11lbs
40 - 1
1/2 length
Kingsgate Native
Sir Michael Stoute
R L Moore
9st 0lbs
4 - 1
3/4 length
Rain Delayed
M Dods
R Hughes
9st 0lbs
22 - 1
1/2 length
Noble Storm
E S McMahon
G Gibbons
9st 0lbs
7 - 2
1 length
Stone Of Folca
J R Best
L Morris
8st 10lbs
22 - 1
1/2 length
Golden Destiny
P J Makin
William Buick
8st 11lbs
16 - 1
4 lengths
Swiss Diva
D R C Elsworth
K Fallon
8st 11lbs



Amour Propre found only Masamah his superior for the second race in succession as he finished a gallant second in the Group Two Audi King George Stakes.

Trainer Henry Candy was pleased with his charge who has overcome health issues to return with two runner-up efforts this term, having also been second behind Masamah at York on July 11.

Candy said of the 6/1 shot: “It was a replay of York and the other horse is better, quite simply.

“Amour Propre ran a wonderful race and to come back from what he has been through to run two good races is a miracle, I think. He bled badly for a long time and nothing was helping him so I had to revert to nature. I stuck him out in a field day and night for six months, basically.

“I didn’t put him in the Nunthorpe Stakes because I thought it would be asking a miracle and I don’t regret it. If he’s still going strongly we might run him in the Prix de l’Abbaye but he does want top of the ground. It’s quite rare for Longchamp to have top of the ground at that stage of the season.”

Group Therapy was runner-up to Borderlescott in this race 12 months ago when in the care of Jeremy Noseda. Now trained by David Barron for Pearl Bloodstock, the six-year-old rattled home late to take third at 16/1, a further half-length behind Amour Propre.

Barron commented: “We couldn’t complain, we’re in the money and when you’re beaten you will always wish things could have gone slightly better for you but I’m sure if you talk to six or seven of the other trainers they’ll tell you exactly the same. That’s racing.

“He’s not in the Nunthorpe at York. He has one or two options but we will see how he comes out of the race before making any plans.”

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