Postponed aims to become only third horse to win back-to-back King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot

Andrea Atzeni rides Postponed to win The Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Cup at Epsom Racecourse on June 4, 2016 in Epsom, England. Alan Crowhurst / Getty Images
Powered by automated translation

LONDON // Postponed’s busy schedule will not be a factor in his bid to become just the third horse to win back-to-back King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.

Postponed, who will once again be partnered by Andrea Atzeni, has been in training since January and following his two bloodless victories in Dubai during the winter which included the US$6 million (dh22M) Dubai Sheema Classic, he returned to England to land the Coronation Cup at Epsom last month.

• Geoffrey Riddle: Postponed aims to defend Sheema Classic crown in Dubai following Coronation Cup win at Epsom

Europe’s highest-rated turf horse will take on nine rivals on Saturday in the £1.215 million (Dh5.85m) contest, a cast that will comprise Highland Reel who he trounced at Meydan, and Second Step, a horse left for dead at Epsom in June. Queen Elizabeth’s Dartmouth, set to be ridden by Olivier Peslier, is also among those attempting to stop Postponed becoming a dual winner in the hoofprints of Dahlia in 1973-74 and Godolphin’s Swain in 1997-98.

“He had almost eight weeks between the Sheema Classic and Coronation Cup and seven weeks between that and this race,” trainer Roger Varian said. “He has been let down following each run and then we picked up his training with each race. It should not be a problem.”

Varian confirmed that Sheikh Mohammed Obaid’s standard-bearer could well drop back in distance from Saturday’s 2,400-metre test to the 2,000 metres of the International Stakes at York next month. From there an audacious bid to secure his legacy in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in Chantilly in October could also be on the agenda, as could the Breeders’ Cup Turf in Santa Anita a month later. A return to Dubai is also on the table.

“The International is the plan as we would like to see if he could win a Group 1 race over 10 furlongs,” Varian added. “It is dependent on what happens on Saturday, and whether he comes out the other side well. It would be exciting to take on those mile-and-a-quarter horses.

“Dubai has only ever been talked about once, and that was in the aftermath of the Coronation Cup. The Sheikh is a sportsman and is enjoying his horse, and that is commendable. If everything is ticked and the horse looks like he has got another year in him then it is something to consider.”

Varian confirmed that Ajman Bridge will take on the pacemaking duties in the unfortunate absence of Roseburg, who cut out the running at Epsom but has subsequently died.

Varian is also set to run Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid’s Intilaaq, who was eighth in the Dubai Turf, against subsequent Sandown conqueror Time Test at York on Saturday.

Follow us on Twitter @NatSportUAE

Like us on Facebook at