Time is ripe for King Dancer to deliver on the big stage
Trainer Sean Woods missed out on the big event he had planned for with King Dancer, but the four-year-old can give him a worthwhile consolation in the Group Three Queen Mother Memorial Cup (2,400m) today.
Woods had touted King Dancer (Olivier Doleuze) as a Derby horse virtually from day one and the colt had done everything right leading to the race, including winning the Derby Trial.
But a soft tempo in the Derby muddied the chances of a number of runners on the big day and King Dancer was one of them, finding himself outsprinted and cluttered up in making his way into fifth behind Super Satin.
Woods deliberately bypassed the QE II Cup to concentrate on the Queen Mother Memorial and Champions & Chater Cup with King Dancer - a horse his trainer believes to be a true stayer - but his barrier trial on April 27 shouted loud and clear that all is well going into this race as his first start for eight weeks. Though Doleuze will post three pounds overweight, King Dancer still appears well in the race with 117 pounds as a lightly raced and improving horse.
For the top weight, Mr Medici (Derek Leung Ka-chun), the wheel has turned considerably in the past 12 months since he won this event with 119 pounds, coming off form only slightly better than King Dancer and Irian (Eddie Lai Wai-ming) in his crop of the four-year-old classics.
Doubtless his connections are happy with how things have gone since, with Mr Medici featuring prominently in many of the better races on the calendar, but as a five-year-old now, he is the one giving considerable weight to the four-year-old up-and-comers.
With that in mind, the John Moore-trained Irian looks the danger to King Dancer after finishing behind him in both the Derby Trial and Derby. He has been gelded since the Derby, also trialled nicely and will appreciate the 2,400m.