Kew Gardens and Lah Ti Dar set to renew rivalry at Epsom

Pair were first and second in last year’s St Leger

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Aidan O’Brien hopes last year’s St Leger hero Kew Gardens can improve on his previous experience of Epsom and provide him with a ninth victory in the Investec Coronation Cup.

The Ballydoyle trainer will rely on the son of Galileo, who finished ninth in last year’s Derby, after ruling talented filly Magical out of the Group One prize.

After finishing down the field in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe on his final start last year Kew Gardens found only Morando – who may reoppose – too good when conceding 7lb on his seasonal return in the Ormonde Stakes at Chester.

O’Brien said: “Magical is going to go to the Curragh this weekend (Tattersalls Gold Cup). Kew Gardens will go there (Epsom).

“It was always the plan to go to Chester to make sure he was OK on a left-handed track, as when he ran at Epsom last season he was a bit disappointing.

“We’ve been very happy with him since Chester and the plan is to go for the Coronation.”

Recent Middleton Stakes winner Lah Ti Dar – one of two entries in the mile-and-a-half prize for trainer John Gosden alongside Coronet – could be in line for a quick return to action with the Newmarket handler keen on stepping her back up in trip.

Gosden said of the Leger runner-up: “Lah Ti Dar was running very much over a minimum trip, but she got the job done. She has come out of the race in great order.”

Her owner Lord Lloyd Webber’s racing manager Simon Marsh added: “She’s such an exciting prospect and we’re terribly lucky to have her.

“At the moment she’s heading to the Coronation and it will be nice to get her to Epsom, having being forced to miss the Oaks last season.”

Gosden said of Coronet: “The Jockey Club Stakes turned into a three-furlong dash, which didn’t really suit Coronet. Both fillies are in good form and both are staying in the Coronation Cup and looking towards it.”

Roger Varian, who claimed the race in 2016 with Postponed, feels Jockey Club Stakes runner-up Defoe is approaching the peak of his powers.

Varian said: “He could turn up in the Coronation Cup. I thought he ran well at Newmarket. He has taken a bit longer to come to hand this year – he is a six-year-old gelding and has probably just needed his work.

“He is in great form and has never been in better form. I would like to see a drop of rain, but he is a likely starter and I think he will run very well. “

Salouen nearly caused the upset of the season when coming within a head of toppling Cracksman 12 months ago, and hopes are high he may be able to go one better this year after a winning return in a Listed event at Ascot earlier this month.

“He has improved a little from four to five. The owner loves going to these big gigs and it would be nice if he was rewarded with a big win at last,” said trainer Sylvester Kirk.

“He came up a bit short in the big races last year without having the best of luck.”

Ground conditions will dictate whether Morando participates in the race, according to his trainer Andrew Balding.

Balding said: “We would probably leave it until the 11th hour. He has come out of Chester well. It was a good performance on unusually soft ground and he just ploughs through it. He might get away with good ground.”

Kew Gardens and Lah Ti Dar set to renew rivalry at Epsom
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