x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Change of fortune for high-flying Kite

Godolphin's hot streak continued yesterday when Kite Wood triumphed in his first outing against the older generation.

Godolphin's hot streak continued yesterday when Kite Wood triumphed in his first outing against the older generation, setting himself up as favourite for the St Leger in the process. The much-hyped Galileo three-year-old - who was a major disappointment to his connections in the Group Two Dante Stakes and the Group One Epsom Derby earlier this season - has utterly reversed his fortunes in his last two outings.

A step down in class from group One to the Group Three Geoffrey Freer Stakes over 1m5f appears to have given the slow developer renewed confidence, winning from the front yesterday in a victory that gave Godolphin their 100th Group Three triumph since 1994 and was celebrated by a Frankie Dettori flying dismount in the Newbury winner's enclosure. Many expected Godolphin's other runner, Age of Reason, under Ted Durcan, to perform pacemaker duties but on the day Kite Wood, who hotted up significantly before the off, did not need help, making the running from a wide position and cutting in slightly at the turn.

"The St Leger's mile and three-quarters will suit him perfectly and there was no sign of him boiling over today," said trainer, Saeed bin Suroor. "I feel he has improved both physically and mentally since the start of the season." Halicarnassus, prepared by Mick Channon, continued the improvement he has shown with every run this season to claim second, while Age of Reason was an honourable third. Dubai runner, Mourilyan, trained by Gary Moore in England and stepping down from the two mile Goodwood Cup, could not fulfil the promise of his previous form, finishing fourth.

Well placed at two furlongs out, with Kite Wood just two lengths away, the five-year-old seemed to lose his momentum when asked for something extra by jockey, Ryan Moore. stregoning@thenational.ae