Grimthorpe - Sea Moon can bridge gap
Friday 20 July 2012
By Ashley Wishaw
Teddy Grimthorpe believes that Sea Moon has enough improvement in him to shrug off his lack of Group One success when the colt tackles the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot tomorrow.
Sea Moon, trained by Sir Michael Stoute, was a deeply impressive winner of the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot last month and bids to follow up Doyen (2004) and Harbinger (2010) by winning both races in the same season.
Only Nathaniel and Harbinger have won the King George without a victory at the highest level prior to the race since Belmez scored in 1990 but the racing manager to owner Khalid Abdullah believes his charge has a fine chance of joining that list by bridging the gap.
“Michael and the whole team have done a magnificent job. The horse had been a bit rusty but to bring him back and win like that was tremendous,” Grimthorpe said.
“He travelled really smoothly and picked up really well, so I had to be very pleased with him.
“The trainer’s been very patient with him and this horse progressed all through last year and if he keeps going the same way he could have a very good season.”
Stoute has won the King George five times and if Sea Moon holds off his nine rivals he would become the most successful trainer in the race’s 61-year history after saddling Shergar, Opera House, Golan, Conduit and Harbinger. He would eclipse Saeed Bin Suroor and Major Dick Hern.
"Historically it's been a race that's run up a lot of champions, a lot of excitement and I love the race," Stoute said.
"It's one of the great middle-distances races in the calendar in Europe.
"He's got a shot but it's a very, very tough race and we're hopeful rather than confident."
Sea Moon’s victory at Ascot was only the eighth run of his career and the way he accelerated under Ryan Moore to take the lead two furlongs from home was the mark of a high-class colt. Moore reported afterwards, however, that Sea Moon does not want to be in front for too long, Stoute revealed.
“I was delighted with that performance,” the trainer said. “I was disappointed at Goodwood, when he was finding it tight with two furlongs to run.
“Ryan said that he was never going to get beaten - I couldn’t quite agree with him - but he said that he wouldn’t ride him like that again. We thought that there would be no pace and we couldn’t let them canter round there.
“It’s his best performance to date and a big improvement from his last run at Goodwood where it didn’t suit him to make the running.”