Best readies Kingsgate Native for sprint crown

The flying wizards from Oz will once again be at Royal Ascot, with Takeover Target, winner of the King's Stand Stakes two years ago, leading the raid on Tuesday's opening-day sprint feature. The globetrotting nine-year-old gelding showed himself as good as ever in Singapore last month with a narrow defeat of compatriot Magnus, who will again oppose next week.

But this year the home side may have more to say about the destination of the first British leg of the Global Sprint Challenge, a series that has lifted the profile of specialist speedsters. And in particular, with two three-year-olds, old rivals Fleeting Spirit and Kingsgate Native.

Fleeting Spirit, from Jeremy Noseda's Newmarket yard, is currently favourite, on the strength of her scorching return to action 18 days ago in the Temple Stakes at Haydock. Kingsgate Native, trained by John Best at Hucking, Kent, will be making his seasonal debut in the five-furlong dash, now restored to top-level status after 20 years.

The pair have met once before, when the filly narrowly beat the colt in the Molecomb Stakes at Goodwood, but thereafter their paths diverged. Fleeting Spirit took a conventional route for one of her sex, talent and aptitude (Lowther-Flying Childers-Cheveley Park). But Kingsgate Native boldly went where few juveniles had gone before.

He broke his maiden in a Group One contest against older horses, the Nunthorpe Stakes, and very nearly made it a double in that company, running a brave second in the Prix de l'Abbaye, ridden on both occasions by next week's pilot Jimmy Quinn. His performances prompted the Cheveley Park Stud to acquire stallion rights, though he will still race in the colours of Epsom-based former bookmaker John Mayne.

The return of the Native is eagerly awaited, not least by Best. "We haven't run him simply because there hasn't been anything to run him in without carrying a penalty," he said, "but he's in excellent order. We've had no hold-ups at all and he had a decent racecourse gallop last week, and he's showing us he's still got the appetite for it. It's going to be a tough rematch with Fleeting Spirit – that run at Haydock looked incredible – but we're up for it."

One of the son of Mujadil's weapons last year was his unusually mature physique. "If someone had told you he was a four-year-old, you'd have believed them," said Best, "and of course against the older horses he was getting all the weight allowances. The concern must be that some of the others may have caught him up.

"But he has definitely progressed physically, nonetheless, and I'm delighted with what we've got. Jimmy said he was like a little bull and when Chris Richardson [Cheveley Park director] came down last week to see him he was very pleased. I see him every day and it was good to have a fresh, objective eye confirm what I think."

Kingsgate Native's first experience of a racecourse came at the Royal meeting, when he was beaten a head in the Windsor Castle Stakes over Tuesday's track. The colt handles most ground but, with his tactical hat on, Best is hoping for some ease. "I'm glad the King's Stand is when it is," he said. "Fine weather is forecast all week, so I think they'll have to produce genuine good ground on the first day, because it will dry up from there. And Fleeting Spirit wants it as fast as it can get."

Kingsgate Native is also in the Golden Jubilee Stakes on the meeting's final day. "We'll see how things go on Tuesday," said Best. "It looks as if he's still a serious horse – I wouldn't swap him for anything – and it's going to be an exciting week."

Phillip Makin is in hospital with a crushed vertebra following a fall on the gallops. The accident happened while Makin was exercising horses at David Barron's Thirsk stable and the jockey could be out of action for a month.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing