x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

UAE Royals declare hand for York meet

Three horses owned by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed and two saddled by Godolphin are among the 36 entered for the Great Voltigeur, a group 2 race.

Namibian, with jockey Silvestre De Sousa aboard, won the Queen's Vase at Royal Ascot.
Namibian, with jockey Silvestre De Sousa aboard, won the Queen's Vase at Royal Ascot.

The UAE is planning to launch a five-pronged assault on one of England's top Group 2 races.

Three horses owned by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed and two saddled by Godolphin are among 36 entries for the Great Voltigeur Stakes at York on August 17.

Sheikh Hamdan's Royal Ascot Queen's Vase winner Namibian, Dordogne and Malthouse, all trained by Mark Johnston, are in the squad and the handler also has Eternal Heart, Hurricane Higgins and Sadler's Risk to chose from.

Godolphin's Casamento and Ocean War are other interesting contenders.

Nathaniel, the impressive winner of the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot, is likely to be seen as the headline act among entries.

He was initially installed as the favourite for the St Leger after his runaway win, although connections played down his chances of running in the world's oldest Classic, which will take place at Doncaster on September 10.

So it is slightly surprising to see Nathaniel given the option of running in a race considered as the foremost trial for the St Leger.

John Gosden, his trainer, has also entered Masked Marvel and Thimaar.

Aidan O'Brien has a strong entry, with the likes of Recital, Master Of Hounds, Memphis Tennessee and Seville among his possibles.

Sir Michael Stoute's promising colts Fiorente and Sea Moon have the option along with the Roger Varian improvers Dominant and Mijhaar.

Richard Hannon's Census, second to Brown Panther at Ascot, Ouija Board's son Voodoo Prince and Hughie Morrison's Royal meeting winner Pisco Sour are also in the 36.

Namibian gave Johnston his sixth victory in the Queen's Vase at Ascot. The son of Cape Cross had to survive a stewards' inquiry after hampering Solar Sky but the stewards did not think Namibian had erred sufficiently.

"Namibian has a few good entries and you'd think about the Leger," Johnson said at the time.

Dordogne has won three of his five starts, most recently the Derby Trial at Lingfield in May. He was not entered into the Epsom Classic and instead was declared in the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot but was a non-runner on the day. Malthouse had a disappointing Royal Ascot, finishing eighth in the King George V Stakes, but bounced back to finish second behind Dominant at Newmarket last weekend.

* Compiled by The National staff with agencies