A repeat King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes bid looks like being top of the summer agenda for Postponed after he ran out a ready winner of yesterday’s Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan for Newmarket-based Roger Varian.
It was a smooth passage for Andrea Atzeni on the favourite, who travelled sweetly throughout before taking over from Highland Reel at the head of affairs with a furlong to run.
Continuing the theme of the Japanese raiders on the night Duramente, running on just three shoes after spreading a plate, and Last Impact chased him home, with Highland Reel fading into fourth behind the winner, who broke the track record. Winner of the King George at Ascot last season, Postponed was moved from Luca Cumani with the rest of owner Sheikh Mohammed Obaid’s 35-strong string after the mid-summer showpiece and looks like being a major player in all the top middle-distance races in this form.
Varian said: “He’s a very good horse, he had already won a King George when we got him, but he has thrived out here. I imagine the King George will again be his mid-summer target with a run or two before. I’ll make a plan with the owner when we get home.”
The winner was given quotes ranging from Paddy Power’s 8-1 for the Prince of Wales’s Stakes to 10-1 with RaceBets for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, emphasising the big-race options open to him this season. Atzeni, who turned 25 on Saturday, said: “I would think there’s no doubt he’s the best mile-and-a-half horse in Europe.”
California Chrome, meanwhile, will be aimed at the Breeders’ Cup Classic after going one better than 12 months ago in winning the Dubai World Cup with a tremendous display.
Mubtaahij was a fine second, with Hoppertunity third, but Frosted, runner-up to Triple Crown hero American Pharoah in the Belmont Stakes last season, was disappointing in fifth.
Winner of the first two legs of the Triple Crown in 2014, the popular Art Sherman-trained California Chrome was supposed to run at Royal Ascot last June, but a late setback prevented an appearance in Britain, and he is highly unlikely to try again.
RaceBets and Paddy Power cut the five-year-old to 4-1 for the Breeders’ Cup Classic in which he was third to Bayern and Toast Of New York in 2014.