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Postponed denied shot at defending showpiece crown

Postponed ANL-160324-143802001
Postponed ANL-160324-143802001

There will be no back-to-back King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes crowns for Postponed after the five-year-old was pulled out of Saturday’s meeting at Ascot.

The Roger Varian-trained colt was bidding to become just the third horse in history to retain the title that he won as a 6-1 shot 12 months ago.

However, following the discovery of a respiratory infection after his final piece of work on Wednesday morning, Varian had little option but to withdraw the odds-one favourite.

“Up until this point, Postponed had not given us any worry during his training regime,” said the Kremlin House Stables trainer.

“However, we felt Postponed did not work with his usual zest this morning and a subsequent scope showed he is suffering from a respiratory infection.

“This news is obviously very disappointing and it is a real shame for Sheikh Mohammed Obaid (owner), the team and the racing public that he will not line up on Saturday.

“But, as is always the case, the interests of the horse must come first. If he is not 100 per cent, the only sensible thing to do is not to run.

“We will let the horse recover from this setback before making a plan of where he runs next. We still have many big days ahead to look forward to.”

Meanwhile, Newmarket trainer Hugo Palmer has not ruled out a tilt at the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes with Galileo Gold on QIPCO British Champions Day.

Palmer has lined up the race as a possible final domestic target for his three-year-old, who lines-up in the Qatar Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood on Wednesday.

The classic-winning trainer said: “I would love to see him in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot, definitely.

“It’s a hugely valuable race and an enormously prestigious race, so that’s the obvious place for him to go.

“The Breeders Cup is three weeks away this year which is an extra week so it gives him the option to do both.”

Speaking at the Qatar Goodwood Festival launch, Palmer said, “He (Galileo Gold) has come out great and we’re really happy with him.

“As we keep saying, he’s getting bigger and stronger with everything that we do with him which is great.”

Galileo Gold has already claimed two Group One successes this season, following his 2000 Guineas win up with an equally-impressive victory in the James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.

Palmer’s chestnut colt is already 15/8 favourite for the Sussex Stakes and is expected to be given another positive ride by jockey Frankie Dettori.

“I think that’s where he has performed to his best, but we don’t know exactly how a race is going to pan out so I’ll ultimately leave that call to Frankie,” said Palmer.

“I would have thought that would be Plan A, but then again, he wasn’t prominent in the Vintage Stakes last year which he won.”

n Leading female jockey Hayley Turner was unable to secure a victory on her return to the saddle at Newmarket last Friday.

Having come out of retirement for next month’s Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup, 33-year-old Turner warmed up with three rides, finishing fifth, last and third.

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