Youngsters fight shy of Ascot battleground

There is a notable omission among the 10 horses declared yesterday for the second-richest race in Britain, Saturday's King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. For the third year in succession, and the fourth time in seven years, there will be no three-year-old carrying the banner for his age group in what has traditionally been a showpiece confrontation between the Classic and older generations.

Four-year-old Duke of Marmalade is the hot favourite, ahead of the five-year-olds Youmzain and Ask. And the reason for the dearth of three-year-olds is probably not rocket science. The standard of older horse kept in training has risen and it now takes a special younger performer to take them on at this time of year.

The Derby winner, New Approach, might have been one, but has just resumed training after the injury that put him on the sidelines last month. The most recent three-year-old to take the Ascot 12-furlong showpiece was Alamshar five years ago, and before him Galileo in 2001. The last Derby winner to run was Kris Kin, third to Alamshar.

Of this season's other middle-distance Classic stars, Oaks heroine Look Here is on the Yorkshire Oaks and St Leger route and Derby runner-up Tartan Bearer and Irish Derby hero Frozen Fire also have Doncaster on their radar. The best of the French three-year-olds, headed by Montmartre and Zarkava, are having the customary Gallic summer holiday before building up to the Arc and other autumn targets.

In 57 running of the King George the score is 30-27 in favour of older horses, specifically 23 four-year-olds, six five-year-olds and a sole six-year-old. But proportionally, their juniors are easily better. Three-year-olds have provided a third of the runners and nearly half the winners.

The shift of power towards older, battle-hardened performers – the sort the public like to see staying in training – was fostered by the Godolphin operation and has been enthusiastically adopted by Ballydoyle. Duke Of Marmalade, already winner this year of the Prix Ganay, Tattersalls Gold Cup and Prince of Wales's Stakes, will lead Aidan O'Brien's bid for a 14th Group One prize this season. The Danehill colt would also be a third successive victor for the Coolmore ownership axis, after the four-year-olds Dylan Thomas (O'Brien) and Hurricane Run (André Fabre).

Duke Of Marmalade (whose Italian-trained namesake finished last in the race in 1976) will be trying 12 furlongs for the first time on Saturday and the one for money in recent days has been last year's runner-up, Youmzain, proven over the distance. The Mick Channon-trained son of Sinndar, also second in the Arc and Coronation Cup, shook off his "nearly horse" tag with a defeat of Duke Of Marmalade's stablemate Soldier Of Fortune in last month's Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud.

Three others from Ballydoyle remain among the penultimate list of possibles for Saturday's £425,000 prize, Macarthur, Red Rock Canyon and Eclipse Stakes winner Mount Nelson. Others still in include John Gosden's charge Lucarno, the Sir Michael Stoute pair Ask and Papal Bull, the Godolphin colourbearer Literato and rank outsider Petara Bay, from Terry Mills's yard.

Literato will need ease underfoot to compete and, with mostly dry weather forecast for the week, the Ascot authorities started watering the course, which has been good to firm, good in places, yesterday.

One of the best sporting spectacles of the past week has been watching the pacemaking riders in the Tour de France bringing their squad's main man to the front in the sprint finishes. Although such blatant teamwork is frowned upon by racing's authorities, it was O'Brien's co-ordinated use of domestiques that contributed to the riveting Coronation Cup, in which Song Of Hiawatha and then Macarthur towed Soldier Of Fortune home.

Another, less edifying parallel with Le Tour – which has this year so far dismissed three riders for doping offences – came with an announcement yesterday from the British Horseracing Authority that from 2009, horses trained overseas and running in this country must be declared as not having been trained on non-therapeutic substances.

The catalyst for the move was disquiet expressed by some trainers that visiting non-European horses – particularly Australian sprinters – have benefited from steroids. "We need to make it abundantly clear that racing in Britain is fair and safe," said the BHA's Tim Morris. "There needs to be a level playing field and at the same time the welfare of the horse should be protected."

News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Lewis Hamilton walks back to the pit lane with his Mercedes burning in the background
Formula 1
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con
comic-con 2014
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
News
Bryan had a bracelet given to him by his late father stolen during the raid
people
News
A rub on the tummy sprang Casey back to life
video
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
people
News
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
News
Tovey says of homeless charity the Pillion Trust : 'If it weren't for them and the park attendant I wouldn't be here today.'
people
Sport
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Caption competition
Caption competition
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
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Employment Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - Senior Employment Solici...

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little