Eagle Top winning the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal AscotPICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)
Rains bring relief to Gosden for Eagle Top bid
JOHN GOSDEN was happy to get wet at Ascot on Friday as rains eased the way for Eagle Top to take his place in the £1 million King George and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at the track on Saturday.
"This is very welcome when the owner has paid £75,000 to supplement," said Gosden of his Royal Ascot winner, who looks set to take his place alongside stablemates Romsdal and unbeaten Oaks winner Taghrooda in one of the biggest races of the British Flat season.
Gosden added: "It wasn't exactly forecast, but I see now on my weather map that there could be more coming from Holland. All we wanted was for it to be on the firm side of good, just not really quick. If we get another inch people will be pulling them out for the other (soft) reason!"
Eagle Top, owned by Lady Bamford, is a general 9-2 fourth favourite in a market led by runaway Royal Ascot winner Telescope from Taghrooda and Breeders' Cup Turf winner Magician.
A dramatic thunderstorm during racing significantly altered the ground from good to firm to good to soft.
The rain came down at Ascot on Friday turning the ground good to softPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
A sustained period of warm and dry weather led clerk of the course Chris Stickels to water earlier in the week but the Berkshire venue experienced heavy rainfall during the opening day of the three-day meeting, prompting two changes in the ground description over Friday afternoon.
"We got 8mm this afternoon and there is still a chance of a thunderstorm later on," Stickels said. "Saturday is expected to be mainly warm and dry, but the threat of a thunderstorm still persists."
Stickels did offer an optimistic outlook on the prospect of drying ground, adding: "Today's rain will soak through so there's a chance we will be good by tomorrow."