Nagano Gold unlikely for King George

Defoe ridden by jockey Andrea Atzeni on the way to winning the Hardwicke Stakes during day five of Royal Ascot
Image: Defoe beats Nagano Gold At Ascot

Nagano Gold is "not very likely" to return to Ascot for the King George following his narrow defeat at the Royal meeting last week.

Trained and owned by Vaclav Luka Jr, the Czech Republic raider was a largely unconsidered 25-1 shot for Saturday's Hardwicke Stakes - but came within half a length of causing an upset under Christophe Soumillon.

The result might well have been even better had Nagano Gold not been badly hampered by the stumbling Masar shortly after leaving the starting stalls, while he was carried wide by the same rival early in the home straight.

In the immediate aftermath of his narrow defeat to Defoe, connections raised the possibility of a return to the Berkshire circuit for the King George on July 27 - but the supplementary fee of £80,000 is one of the reasons that option now seems improbable.

Thomas Janada, Vaclav Luka Jnr's racing manager, said: "The horse arrived home safely, and everything is fine.

"We were very happy that the horse had the chance to show his class, which is what we hoped for. We knew the style of racing in England would suit him better than the races in France.

"We got very close, and he was unlucky at the start and at the finish. Christophe said without those two problems he probably would have won.

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"The main thing is the horse is sound, and hopefully he can confirm his class in future races."

Asked whether the King George remained a possible next port of call, Janada added: "No final decision has been made on where he will run next, but there are a lot of options and there are a lot of things to consider - things like the jockey, the opposition and transport.

"He is entered in a Group One in Berlin and he'll be entered for a race at Deauville, but I think I can say the King George is not very likely. It is four weeks away, and there is a high supplementary fee."

The Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe had already been identified as a possible autumn target, but there are alternatives abroad.

"There's the Arc to consider, and later in the year there is Hong Kong and the Japan Cup and even Australia. If he was going to go for the Melbourne Cup, he obviously wouldn't run in the Arc," said Janada.

"There has also been a lot of interest to sell the horse. He is owned by a syndicate of three people, and they have said that they will definitely not sell 100 per cent (of him) - but they might sell a share.

"If part of him is sold then that could change plans as well, of course - so we'll see what happens."

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