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Johnny Murtagh on the King George: Golden Horn could be an all-time great, and punters shouldn’t be put off backing him at odds-on

Former top jockey and now trainer Johnny Murtagh gives us the lowdown on Golden Horn, as John Gosden's superstar aims for another Group 1 in the King George at Ascot

by Johnny Murtagh | July 22, 2015

Ascot. The King George. A mile-and-a-half. The best horse wins.

Without doubt Golden Horn is the best horse in the race, and deserves to be 4/9 in the betting. It’s a short price, but punters shouldn’t be put off.

There are no real surprises in the field – we know the opposition, we’ve seen them, and they are what they are. The French horse Flintshire might put it up to him if he’s dropped in and they ride him quietly, but there’s no question Golden Horn is the one to beat. He’s won the Derby and the Eclipse this season, and there is nothing in Saturday’s field that comes anywhere close to that form.


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I knew at the start of the season Golden Horn’s jockey Frankie Dettori was back with a bang. He knew himself being back in with John Gosden’s yard was going to be a huge help. He enjoys being part of the team, and being the main man. Dettori is the most naturally gifted jockey in the game. There’s no better man on the big day and he should be winning 10 Group 1 races every year.

Trainer John Gosden has mapped out a pretty demanding route for Golden Horn, potentially heading to York for the Juddmonte and over to France for the Arc de Triomphe after the weekend, and Golden Horn has to keep improving. He’ll have to be a much better horse on Saturday than he was going in to the Derby or the Eclipse. But he looks like he is improving all the time – and that’s what great horses have to do. It’s an ambitious route, but if he wants to be regarded as one of the all-time greats, it has to be done.


It’ll be interesting to see if John Gosden can keep Golden Horn on the boil all the way through to the Arc in three months time. It’ll be a true test of his training skills and if you’re mentioning Golden horn in the same bracket as Frankel, then he’ll have to put it up to Treve at Longchamp.

Golden Horn is a different kind of beast to Frankel. The way Frankel demolished the opposition was spectacular, whereas Golden Horn has a different way of doing things. Golden Horn’s victories might not be as visually as impressive as Frankel blowing away the field, but he’s a battler. If Golden Horn wins the King George, wins the Juddmonte International at York, and then wins the Arc at Longchamp then you can’t not have him in the same bracket.

Frankel was exceptional, but Golden Horn could be well up there.

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