Racing: Fast Love to turn up heat

King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes: Jockey on Johnston's colt may dictate tactics
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The Independent Online
The King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes is the high-summer encounter which answers many questions. It tells us of the relative merits of Classic racehorses and their older counterparts and, on occasion, it can confirm the outstanding Derby winners, the likes of Shergar, Nashwan and Generous.

The huge question, however, going into today's running of the great race is a prosaic one. Who on earth will make the running? It is not a question likely to win a huge audience in the pub, yet its answer will have a profound effect on the outcome.

If the field tears round madly then Fruits Of Love and Daliapour will have a better chance. If the contest is little more than a saunter in the early stages then, surely, Daylami will be the one to take advantage.

The last-named ran in the King George 12 months ago and appeared to run out of energy as the lungs were bursting close home. He probably does not truly stay a mile and a half.

Yet he has won over the distance, in the Coronation Cup at Epsom. That event was only just the right side of a sham, or a famous victory for tactics, depending on where you pitched your tent. Central Park was the pacemaker, or rather pace slower, for Godolphin, trotting at the head of affairs as his stablemate Daylami conserved his finishing kick in the peleton. Team Dubai has Nedawi in today's race and it will be intriguing to see if he fulfils a similar role.

If he does not it might be that Fruits Of Love will make the pace. Mark Johnston's colt was no trailblazer over course and distance last time, swooping from the rear in the closing stages of a furious Hardwicke Stakes at the Royal meeting. He had previously been behind Daylami at Epsom and his trainer will not stand a repetition.

"I don't know what is going to make the running and it's undoubtedly a worry," Johnston says. "I do fear the combination of Daylami and a slow pace.

"If it wasn't for the Coronation Cup we would be saying the pace would come from Nedawi, who is capable of front-running and a serious contender.

"Those tactics in the Coronation Cup were seriously legitimate but if they repeated them you just wouldn't know what was going to happen."

One certainty, though, is that the Middleham trainer will brief Olivier Peslier on the permutations and will not allow any hard-luck story. "If they are faced with a false situation then top jockeys have got to go on. They can't just blame somebody else for getting beaten.

"I'm not saying whether we're going to make it or not, but I certainly would hope we'd never tolerate a pace like the Coronation Cup again. That was just beyond a joke."

Peslier need not worry. The prevailing belief is that Daliapour, the Derby runner-up, will be at the forefront as he and Oath, the Blue Riband victor, attempt to vindicate the Epsom Classic form. The early suggestion is that the Derby horses have something to prove. Daliapour was beaten just under two lengths on the Downs before being thrashed by five lengths by the Prix du Jockey Club winner, Montjeu, in the Irish equivalent. Ominous mentions of a bad crop in these islands are already circulating.

Any weakness will be exposed over today's baked terrain. It is ground which will suit FRUITS OF LOVE (nap 3.50), and an occasion which will also suit his clever jockey.

The King George is the second leg, following the Dubai World Cup, in the Emirates World Series, a collection of nine international races which seeks to identify the best middle-distance horse in the world.

Whether such an animal can ever be classified is open to debate, but at least $15m spread over three years, the largest sponsorship in the history of racing, is being poured into the sport. World Series organisers yesterday announced the detail behind the television coverage which is seen as pivotal to the whole exercise. The races, which take in Hong Kong, Australia, Japan and the Breeders' Cup in Florida, will be shown either live or on delayed transmission in over 200 countries.

Punters might even get to some of the glamour contests themselves if they can strike it lucky in the new Saturday bet launched by the Tote today. The scoop6 is a pounds 2 wager spread over six televised races. If a punter selects a placed horse in each race a dividend will be returned. A further, larger dividend, will be returned for selecting all six winners, plus entry into a further bonus race the following week. The bonus contest next Saturday is the Stewards' Cup at Goodwood and qualifiers will be scrapping it out for a minimum bonus fund of pounds 100,000.

The Tote expect there will be rollovers and hope for enough of them to one day make someone a racing millionaire.

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