Horses To Follow » King’s Gambit 

King’s Gambit

King’s Gambit is not unobvious, but he was seriously impressive in winning the London Gold Cup at Newbury, a race that is often a stepping stone for Group race horses of the future. Settled into a nice position by William Buick on the inside just behind the leaders, he travelled well into the home straight. Staying on the inside behind the leader Chantilly, Harry Charlton’s horse needed a gap to develop as they raced to the two-furlong marker but, when it did, when Individualism started to drop away on his immediate outside, he had the pace to move into the gap quickly. Once in the clear, he picked up impressively and powered away from his rivals, putting four lengths between him and them by the time he reached the winning line.

The London Gold Cup is a handicap, but it can be a launchpad for a progressive three-year-old who can take a significant step up in class. Al Kazeem, Cannock Chase, Time Test, Defoe, Communique, Headman and Bay Bridge have all won the race in the recent past. This year’s race is working out well already too, with fourth-placed Persica running out an impressive winner of a good 10-furlong three-year-olds’ handicap at Epsom at the weekend.

The London Gold Cup was probably a long-range plan for King’s Gambit, given the Charltons’ strong record in the race, and the fact that his three runs before Saturday were all also at Newbury. The form of his run in the Hayes, Hanson and Clark Novice Stakes last September, when he ran Bracken’s Laugh to a head, looks even better now than it did given his conqueror’s subsequent exploits. He is now rated 108. King’s Gambit was racing off a mark of 93 on Saturday and, as such, he had a very similar profile to Time Test’s when he won this race in 2015: both trained at Beckhampton House, both thrice-raced as juveniles, both making their three-year-old debut in the race, both rated 93. Time Test won the Tercentenary Stakes, the Hampton Court Stakes, at Royal Ascot on his next run and, fourth in the Juddmonte International that August, he won the Group 2 Joel Stakes at Newmarket the following September. The owner’s racing manager Philip Robinson said after Saturday’s race that Royal Ascot could be next for King’s Gambit, and he will be of interest if he does go to the Hampton Court Stakes.

Newbury, 18th May 2024