Workforce rallies to press Abbey for favouritism in King George

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The Independent Online

Good horses, and good jockeys, always deserve a second chance. Such, at any rate, appeared to be the consensus yesterday regarding three of the best horses in Prince Khaled Abdulla's racing empire. Workforce was in heavy demand for what suddenly looks a vintage running of the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on Saturday – a year after his mysterious failure in the same race. Twice Over, meanwhile, heads to York on the same afternoon with Henry Cecil eager to disregard a no less uncharacteristic exhibition at Royal Ascot last month. And the same trainer is also giving unqualified support for his stable jockey, Tom Queally, as they prepare for Frankel's big showdown with Canford Cliffs at Goodwood next week.

The odds against Workforce have all but halved since he delighted Sir Michael Stoute in a gallop over the weekend. Punters are emboldened not only by his two excellent performances over 10 furlongs this season, but also by a forecast for unsettled weather through the week. Betfair, the sponsors, yesterday saw Workforce join St Nicholas Abbey in trading on the race at around 2-1.

Among just seven acceptors, Midday is only a reserve for Workforce and remains likely to head to Goodwood a week later, while Seville is understood to perform a similar role for St Nicholas Abbey. But Rewilding is likely to be accompanied by a pacemaker in Debussy, while Nathaniel's connections, having divulged their plan in these pages last week, duly paid a £75,000 fee to supplement the improving three-year-old. "We certainly haven't seen the best of him yet," Nathaniel's jockey, William Buick, said. "If he gets his conditions, he definitely deserves his place. The ground was a bit quick for him at Chester, and the track didn't suit, but that race made a man of him."

Twice Over, so disappointing behind Rewilding last time, seeks to get back on track in the Group Two Sky Bet Stakes. "God knows what happened," Cecil said. "He must have felt ill or off-colour. He didn't want to be saddled or go in the parade ring. He was so distressed after the race that I did not bring him home until the next day. But he has been fantastic since."

As for Queally, Cecil dismissed criticism of his tactics on Frankel in the St James's Palace Stakes, albeit admitting the race had not panned out quite as he had hoped. "Tom is very sensible and has a good temperament," he said. "He will go there with confidence and I think he will do perfectly. I always say treat a race like a gallop – there will always be another day. The last time did not work out, but this is another day."

Turf Account

* Chris McGrath's Nap

Captain Bellamy (8.00 Southwell)

Shaped as a thorough stayer when hitting top gear late to open his account over 11f here in May, and easily pardoned subsequent failure back on turf.

* Next best

Amtired (7.00 Southwell)

Has improved since switched to this surface, pulling clear of the rest when closing to within a neck of a flourishing rival over course and distance last week. Well treated if as effective without blinkers.

* One to watch

Elspeth's Boy (William Haggas) was highly tried in younger days but his debut for a new trainer at Epsom last week showed him to be finding his level, finishing strongly.

* Where the money's going

The Real Article is 7-2 from 4-1 with Paddy Power for the Guinness Galway Hurdle.