King George and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes, Ascot
If this race doesn't make your heart quicken, you must be
The Racing Post
The King George is a special race in the Flat racing calendar. Here the
best middle distance horses take on each other. The cream of the 3 year old
Classic contenders battle it out with older and more seasoned campaigners to
find out who is the best in Europe. The 2001 King George, which was held on
Saturday on the other hand was in a different class. It saw the first head
to head meeting of two racehorses who are the cream of their
First up Galileo, the pick of this year's European 3 year olds and dual
winner of the English and Irish Derby by impressive lengths. Going into the
race he had won all of his five starts, all under Mick Kinane. The jockey
was uncertain up until he managed to get a ban for careless riding postponed
until after the running of the race.
Representing Godolphin was Fantastic Light. A year older then his young
adversary, he is the impressive winner of the Emirates World Series last
year and the winner of over £7 million in prize money.
The rest of the field were not exactly donkeys either. Millions of
pounds worth of bloodstock who had won millions of pounds worth of races;
King Edward VII winner Storming Home, the French Derby winner Anabaa Blue,
Italian Derby winner Morshdi, and Millenary who won last year's final
classic, the St Leger. But all eyes were on two horses who were coming
together to prove their worth.
Both horses had pacemakers in the race, but as the horses turned for home
both were hidden in the chasing pack. Mick Kinane was forced to guide
Galileo to the front quite early in order to make sure he did not get boxed
in. As he was drawing away he was joined at the front by Fantastic Light
and now we had the race we were all expecting. For a furlong or so they
were neck and neck, matching each other stride for stride, and then Fantastic
Light started to gain the advantage. What happened next is the stuff of
racing legends. Galileo has never been tested in his previous races, he has
always hit the front alone and gone on to win by several lengths. He has
never truly had to race until the moment he had Fantastic Light next to him
'eyeballing' him as the Americans would say. Here was his chance to show
just how good a horse he really was, would he accept the challenge or
capitulate to the older more experienced horse.
At this point I was no longer breathing. Then, showing how good he
really was, Galileo dug deep and began to draw away from his rival to the
screams and cheers of an ecstatic crowd. He went on to win in a time only
.7 seconds outside the course record. John Inverdale was right when he
'If you love true sport you have just witnessed one of the great
Since then the racing press have gone to town over the wonder horse. His
owners have decided that he should be allowed to carry on racing this
season, and quite rightly so. He is likely to meet Fantastic Light again in
September when the handicapper should have them more equally matched in the
weights. Then he is being targeted at the Breeders Cup to take on his
American counterpart, Point Given. He has never raced on dirt, and would be
at a huge disadvantage having to travel into the bargain. If he pulled it
off, it would be a huge feat. He really would be a wonder horse.
I, on the other hand, keep on reliving that race. I hope when life
eyeballs me, I can be as brave and gutsy as Galileo.
Abi... Post Sports Correspondant.