Alamshar Romps in Ascot's King George
Updated: Sunday, July 27, 2003 3:28 PM
Posted: Saturday, July 26, 2003 1:18 PM
Photo: AP/PA, Sean Dempsey
Jockey Johnny Murtagh reacts aboard Alamshar as he crosses the finish line to win the King George VI Diamond Stakes.
The Aga Khan's Alamshar went to the lead early in the straight and pulled away for a convincing 3 1/2-length victory over a field that included nine other group I winners Saturday in the $1.2 million King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes Saturday (Eng-I) at Ascot.
Ridden by Johnny Murtagh for trainer John Oxx, the winner the Budweiser Irish Derby (Ire-I) turned the tables on Kris Kin, who defeated him in the Vodafone English Derby (Eng-I) at Epsom by a length, and knocked off several of Europe's top handicap horses in Britain's leading all-age feature. Alamshar became the second 3-year-old in eight years to win the King George.
Forwardly spotted by Murtagh, Alamshar inherited the lead from Izdihamabout two furlongs from home and opened up a four-length advantage in the run to the wire, never seriously challenged. Godolphin's Sulamani emerged from the pack, surging to finish second, two lengths in front of Kris Kin, who rallied late to finish a half-length better than Bollin Eric. All were recent classic winners. Falbrav was fifth and Warrsan took sixth. Favored Nayef tracked the leaders in third into the straight but could not make an impression to be seventh in a field of 12. The final time for the 1 1/2-mile feature was 2:33.26 on a good to soft turf course.
"The three-year-olds might be all right," Murtagh said to The Racing Post
"I think you would have to say this was his best performance so far," added Oxx. "You expect good three-year-olds to keep progressing. I couldn't have predicted he'd win that well but it was a terrific effort.
"He was always traveling along in the right position very easily. The pace slowed in the middle of the race so he was in the right position and Johnny said he came alive in his hands four out. He waited to the two, let him off and the race was over."
Alamshar has been troubled by a bad back but has received daily treatment from Aga Khan's chiropractor.
"He's a very small little horse with a great constitution," Murtagh said. "He has a little problem with his back but his heart's in the right place and he's getting better and better.
"I won't compare him with Sinndar but he's one of the top horses I've ridden. Today the horse pulled me to the two. Unless I fell off I couldn't have got beaten on him. He quickened very well and when I looked up I couldn't believe how far I was in front. It went very quiet and I thought something was going to sneak in. I looked at the screen and I couldn't see anything."
The Aga last won the King George with Shergar in 1981.
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