28 April 2024

King Of Steel looks set for Sandown seasonal debut

28 April 2024

Sandown’s Brigadier Gerard Stakes has emerged as the favourite option for King Of Steel’s seasonal reappearance, with Roger Varian aiming to return his Champion Stakes hero to Royal Ascot in peak condition.

The son of Wootton Bassett has a phenomenal record at the Berkshire venue, following up a narrow second to Auguste Rodin in the Derby with victory in the King Edward VII Stakes at last year’s royal meeting, when comfortably accounting for subsequent St Leger hero Continuous.

He returned to the track to finish third in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes during the height of summer, before providing Frankie Dettori with the perfect send-off when delivering a telling blow on British Champions Day.

The Carlburg Stables handler is now aiming the four-year-old at the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot this term and although the Tattersalls Gold Cup in Ireland remains an option, Sandown’s Group Three a few days earlier appears the preferred choice.

Varian said: “I need to speak to Kia (Joorabchian, owner) and really firm up plans, but I think it’s likely he will be here for the Brigadier Gerard.

“He looks great at home, is training lovely and we’re looking forward to that.

“The Tattersalls Gold Cup is not off the table – I really need to speak to the owner and he’s in both and we’ve made no firm decisions.

“Royal Ascot is his big target and do we need to travel to Ireland beforehand? We will have to see.”

Meanwhile, Varian is still keen to put Matsuri in a Derby trial over the coming weeks, having missed the Sandown Classic Trial at the 11th hour on account of a dirty scope.

The trainer continued: “On Thursday, he cantered perfectly fine and looked a picture but he threw in a cough in between his first and second canter.

“Thank God he did, because we scoped him and he was dirty, he had mucus in his trachea, so I’m glad we found out on the gallops and not the racecourse.

“He’s a lovely horse and hopefully he can be out in a couple of weeks in another Derby trial of some description. I think he’s a horse with a bright future.”

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