Racing: Stoute's warning puts pressure on Ascot

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Sir Michael Stoute is expected to decide today whether Gamut will line up in tomorrow's King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. The Newmarket trainer, who has saddled three winners of the midsummer highlight, declared himself satisfied with the state of the going when walking the track yesterday, but warned that Gamut could be withdrawn if it became any firmer.

Sir Michael Stoute is expected to decide today whether Gamut will line up in tomorrow's King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. The Newmarket trainer, who has saddled three winners of the midsummer highlight, declared himself satisfied with the state of the going when walking the track yesterday, but warned that Gamut could be withdrawn if it became any firmer.

"Sir Michael came and walked the course this morning before declaration time," Nick Smith, Ascot's head of public relations, said. "He reported that he would run Gamut on today's ground, but that he wouldn't want it to dry out too much."

The ground at Ascot remained good to firm, good in places and the course was not watered yesterday because of predicted rain. Should the rain not materialise then watering is possible after the first of three days' racing starting today. "With the forecast for the potential of thundery showers we've had to sit tight. If we don't get any rain tonight we'll then take a view as to what we might put on after racing tomorrow," the clerk of the course, Nick Cheyne, said yesterday.

Gamut, the intended mount of Kieren Fallon, was among 11 horses declared at the final entry stage - the only absentee being Powerscourt. However, Powerscourt's trainer, Aidan O'Brien, will still be represented by the Irish Derby third Tycoon, the only three-year-old in the line-up. "Tycoon has improved a lot from his run in the Irish Derby, and is in good shape for Ascot," O'Brien, who won this prize with Galileo three years ago, said yesterday.

Doyen, evens favourite with the Tote, is among a three-strong Godolphin team complemented by last year's runner-up Sulamani and pacemaker Lunar Sovereign.

"We declared all three this morning. Sulamani is still an intended runner but obviously we would like more rain for him," the Godolphin racing manager, Simon Crisford, said. "He's quite a clever horse, but a very good horse given the right conditions. Obviously Doyen has a major chance and Lunar Sovereign is in there as a pacemaker."

Elie Lellouche's Vallee Enchantee attempts to be the first French-trained winner since Pawneese in 1976. Angel Penna's filly was owned by the late Daniel Wildenstein, whose son Alec supplies the silks for Vallee Enchantee.

Andrew Balding's runner Phoenix Reach will wear a visor for the first time since his victory in the Canadian International at Woodbine last autumn in a race that the trainer's father, Ian, won with the great Mill Reef in 1971.

* Bookmaker Phil Taylor was yesterday warned off until 1 July 2006 following a Jockey Club disciplinary panel inquiry. Taylor is excluded from any premises owned, licensed or controlled by the Jockey Club for using a falsified RaceTech identity card at Stratford on 30 December 2003, and using a Jockeys' Association badge at Bath on 27 April this year. Taylor admitted deliberately forging the RaceTech card by adding his own photograph and that he had been in possession and using the card to gain access to racecourses for two or three years.

King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes (1m4f, Ascot, Saturday) latest betting (Tote): evens Doyen, 5-1 Vallee Enchantee, 7-1 Gamut, Warrsan, 9-1 Sulamani, 10-1 Bandari, 22-1 Phoenix Reach, Tycoon, 28-1 High Accolade, 33-1 Hard Buck, 150-1 Lunar Sovereign.

RICHARD EDMONDSON

Nap: High Point

(Ascot 2.45)

NB: Whatatodo

(Newmarket 7.15)

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