Betfred King George Stakes
|Group 2, Goodwood
5f, Class 1
|Friday 1st August 2014|
1 Take Cover 6-1
2 Extortionist 5-1
3 Moviesta 9-2F
NR: Tropics (USA)
15 ran Distances: nk, shd, 1½l
TIME 56.47s (fast by 0.53s)
Take Cover holds off Extortionist and Moviesta to win the King George.
Winning Jockey Andrea Atzeni: "Take Cover is one of those who is hard to pass once he's in front. I don't think I've sat on anything as quick as him!"
Trainer David Griffiths celebrates a first Group winner. "Unbelievable! Take Cover is that quick he burns them off and he just keeps going."
Trainer David Griffiths was celebrating the biggest winner of his burgeoning career after Take Cover plundered the Group Two Betfred King George Stakes at Goodwood this afternoon.
Take Cover travelled well off a furious pace in the five-furlong contest set by Caspian Prince before being sent for home by Andrea Atzeni. Challengers were spread right across the track but Take Cover held on by a neck from Extortionist up his inside, with a short-head back to 9/2 favourite Moviesta.
Griffiths, who rode over 60 winners on the Flat, started training in 2010 and has made no secret of how highly he rates the improving seven-year-old, who is now on course for the Group One Nunthorpe Stakes at York on August 22. He is a 12/1 chance for the five-furlong prize with Coral and William Hill.
The Yorkshire handler, who has 22 horses in training, said: "I am delighted - unbelievable, unbelievable. We have always said that he was good and he is that quick that he just burns them off and just keeps going. It's phenomenal to have a first Group winner.
"He likes York and, as long as we get him back and everything is fine, then hopefully we will hopefully go for the Nunthorpe.
"Andrew from Norcroft Park Stud (the owner) likes to give them a lot of time and the family have all improved with age. I think, arguably, he might be getting better. It sounds daft to say it at seven but he might be.
"I said to Andrea that, if he can't lay up with them, then they will be going too quick because he has got that much early speed but he can keep going for the full five furlongs. The other horse was a length in front of us early but I wasn't particularly worried because, if they go that fast - faster than he can travel - I think they will fall in a hole."
Atzeni added: ""He has got a lot of speed, likes the quick ground and battles well. I wasn't sure whether I had won or not because I was so far away from the others. Thankfully, I did.
"The plan was to make the running but the other horses were going quite quick in front and took the lead. I hit the front at the two but he is one of those horses that, once he gets his head in front, he is hard to get by.
"He has got plenty of speed and will be a top sprinter. I don't think that I have ever sat on anything as quick as him."
Extortionist and Moviesta, separated by a short-head when second and third, will meet again in the Group One Nunthorpe Stakes at York later this month.
For Extortionist, it was a second narrow defeat in four outings, alternating with two victories. "We're very happy with ours," said the three-year-old's trainer Olly Stevens. "In these five-furlong races it can be a case of whose turn it is. In them you need all the luck, particularly here.
"I'm not sure this is really his track, he looked quite flatfooted down the hill, and then he had to keep switching out. There's only one more five-furlong race in Britain above Group Three level this season, so we'll be off to York and maybe his turn will come."
Moviesta has not won since taking the Betfred King George Stakes last year, but trainer Bryan Smart was thrilled with the four-year-old's effort today. "He's back to his best," he said, "and he'll finish the season well for us. You need all the luck here and if he hadn't drifted he'd surely have won.
"The way he quickens is awesome and although he hasn't won yet this season he's showed us today that he's still got it. York will be next, and then the Prix de l'Abbaye, and we'll just hope that the ground isn't too soft in France."
Betfred King George Stakes (Group 2)
£100,000 added, 3yo plus, 5f, Class 1
Going: Good to Firm