Trainer Alan King, more used to welcoming winners over jumps at Aintree and Cheltenham, heads to Glorious Goodwood seeking a win which will have the breeding experts scratching their heads.
King’s Dunkerron is a leading contender for the Group Two Vintage Stakes after he stayed on resolutely for fourth place in the furlong shorter July Stakes at Newmarket won by Advertise.
Such a lofty target surely never crossed the trainer’s mind when Dunkerron, who finished in front of Tuesday’s opponent Van Beethoven at Newmarket, first stepped into his Wiltshire stable.
Trainer Alan King heads to Glorious Goodwood seeking a surprise win with Dunkerron
Bred and part-owned by King’s former landlord Nigel Bunter, Dunkerron’s dam Triple Cee never won in 17 starts and his four brothers and sisters have failed to win in a combined 46 races.
His year-older half-sister Parmenter was runner-up in a Stratford Juvenile Hurdle earlier this month and he is by a Australian stallion Kuroshio few will have heard of.
Yet Dunkerron, who was gelded before his debut in a Goodwood Novices’ Stakes when he finished fourth to subsequent Royal Ascot winner Main Edition at odds of 50-1, is seeking a victory which would easily be the biggest two-year-old race won by King’s stable.
The trainer, whose biggest jump successes included Katchit’s 2008 Champion Hurdle, said: ‘We hope the extra distance furlong will help and also the extra match practise of the race at Newmarket might have brought him on a bit as well.
‘He had won two races before that one fairly comfortably.
Dunkerron is a leading contender for the Group Two Vintage Stakes after Newmarket display
‘The sire was a very good sprinter in Australia. He only came over for one season and he has actually produced one or two decent two-year-olds.
‘But is it amazing how it has worked out. We weren’t expecting anything like this to be honest.’
In-form King, who has had eight winners from 19 runners in the last fortnight to take him to a career-best 24 Flat wins already this season, reckons Dunkerron is the best two-year-old he has trained since Howle Hill, who won a Salisbury maiden and Newmarket nursery in 2002.
He added: ‘We mainly buy yearlings for their three-year-old career and beyond. This would be my biggest two-year-old win by miles!’
John Gosden’s unbeaten colt Without Parole heads the eight declarations for Wednesday’s Group One Sussex Stakes. The winner of the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot, the mount of Andrea Atzeni, is 13-8 favourite with Coral.
Opposition is led by Sir Michael Stoute’s Jersey Stakes winner Expert Eye (James Doyle) and Aidan O’Brien’s Gustav Klimt (Ryan Moore), who was beaten half a length when runner up in the St James’s Palace Stakes.
Moore has been booked to ride Paul D’Arcy-trained Spring Loaded in Saturday’s feature Stewards’ Cup. The recent Ascot winner is the new ante-post favourite following the withdrawal of Gosden-trained Dreamfield.
Without Parole heads the eight declarations for Wednesday’s Group One Sussex Stakes