Racing: Ascot is clocking up the air miles

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The Independent Online
THE FORM book loses its pre-eminence as the most useful tome at Ascot over the next month. As horses roar in from all over the globe to the most English of racecourses it is the phrase book which takes on a fresh importance. The greatest number of air miles have already been earned by the six-year-old Indigenous, who will become the first Hong Kong-trained horse to run in Britain when he contests the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes a week on Saturday.

The Ivan Allan-trained horse has been boarding at Robert Sangster's Manton complex, where he accomplished a pleasing piece of work on Tuesday. The bookmakers noticed and acted. Indigenous will attempt to replicate that effort when he limbers up at Ascot itself tomorrow morning. He will arrive in company with his lead horse at 7.00am and work under his regular jockey, Douglas Whyte.

Whyte has already done full-speed reconnaissance of his own at the Berkshire course, as he was the partner of the South African champion London News, third to Bosra Sham in the 1997 Prince Of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot.

The South African's initial foray on his most recent visit did not end as fruitfully yesterday. The 27-year-old finished unplaced on Rheinbold at Folkestone. However, we already know Whyte is no fool. He partnered Indigenous, the winner of more than pounds 2m in prizemoney, to success in the Group Two Hong Kong International Vase in December, and there are decent judges who believe he will be champion jockey in the former colony next season.

The King George favourite is Daylami, who may have been here some time but is still essentially a foreign runner, owned and trained by Dubaians and ridden by an Italian. The grey, who has not raced since beating Royal Anthem in the Coronation Cup at Epsom, is reported in fine fettle. He worked on Newmarket's Round Gallop on Tuesday, pulling eight lengths clear of Central Park.

The King George ante-post lists do not feature the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner Sagamix, yet Andre Fabre's colt has by no means been ruled out of the pounds 600,000 contest. The grey worked well yesterday morning and according to Roland de Longevialle, the racing manager to owner Jean-Luc Lagardere, a decision on participation will be made after a final piece of serious work.

While Ascot will welcome the cosmopolitan flavour to the King George, it is the International Handicap at the course next month which they really would like to establish as a league of nations. The first handicap in Britain to allow overseas horses to be allotted handicap weights based on form achieved in their own country gets its second running on 7 August. It masqueraded as a catholic event in its inaugural year as all 25 runners were trained in England. This time, we are promised, it will be different. Of the 82 entries for the pounds 150,000 seven-furlong contest, nine are trained in France, one from Ireland and one, and this is the slice of exotica, from Sweden. We've forgiven them for the Volvo overpricing already.

KING GEORGE VI & QUEEN ELIZABETH STAKES (Ascot, 24 July): William Hill: 7-2 Daylami, 4-1 Fruits Of Love, Oath, 6-1 Daliapour, 7-1 Silver Patriarch, 20-1 Caitano, Indigenous, Sunshine Street. Ladbrokes: 3-1 Daylami, 4-1 Fruits Of Love, Oath, 7-1 Silver Patriarch, 8-1 Daliapour, 16-1 Caitano, Tchaikovsky, 20-1 Indigenous, Sunshine Street.

INTERNATIONAL HANDICAP (Ascot, 7 August): Tote: 10-1 Grangeville, 14- 1 Grazia, Jo Mell & Sunstreak, 16-1 Fa-Eq, Indian Lodge, Showboat, Young Josh.

n Killer Instinct was yesterday backed at 40-1 by Coral to win the Breeders' Cup Classic. A credit customer placed pounds 100 each-way on Killer Instinct winning the world's richest race.

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