Old foes set to clash again
Galileo Gold, Ribchester and Awtaad are on course to clash one last time this season in the Qipco Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.
Galileo Gold: Set to face familiar foes at Ascot on Saturday
The three horses lined up in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood in July when second, third and eighth respectively behind The Gurkha, who has since been retired.
Galileo Gold and Ribchester then met again in the Prix Jacques le Marois, in which the latter, trained by Richard Fahey, came out on top to reverse the 2000 Guineas form at Newmarket in April.
The three colts now face another match-up, with Awtaad, who lowered the colours of Galileo Gold in the Irish 2,000 Guineas but was third behind that same rival at Royal Ascot, already confirmed for retirement following the QEII.
Aidan O'Brien's Minding won both the 1000 Guineas and Oaks earlier in the year and she is one of four possibles from Ballydoyle along with Alice Springs, Cougar Mountain and Hit It A Bomb.
Minding is also entered in the 10-furlong Champion Stakes on the same card.
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Irish 1,000 Guineas winner Jet Setting has been supplemented for the race, in which 15 runners are still in contention.
Adaay, Barchan, Breton Rock, Hathal, Lightning Spear, Mitchum Swagger and Stormy Antarctic could all also take their chances.
Belardo is one runner who does miss out, though, after it was confirmed on Monday morning that he had suffered a setback and been retired.
The 2014 champion juvenile endured a largely disappointing three-year-old campaign, but has bounced back this season with victories in the Doncaster Mile and the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury.
Roger Varian's charge has not been seen in competitive action since being narrowly denied by Tepin in the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot and connections had been looking forward to an appearance on Champions Day, but time has now been called on his career.
"The timing of this setback is very unfortunate and I am disappointed for both Prince Faisal and Sheikh Mohammed (owners) that Belardo will not be able to run at Ascot on Saturday," the trainer told his website www.varianstable.com.
"The horse had been working exceptionally well in the build up to this race.
"However, he was not 100 percent following his last piece of work and we now do not have sufficient time to get him to the QEII. As such, connections have taken the decision to retire him.
"Belardo has been a magnificent horse to train, winning Group One races at two and four as well as being crowned European champion juvenile. His victories in the Dewhurst Stakes and Lockinge Stakes were special moments in my career and those wins will live long in the memory.
"The horse has been a pleasure to have around the yard and I am sure he will make a successful stallion as he embarks on the next stage of his career."
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