Updated on 09/16/2011 8:52AM

Godolphin tough rain or shine


Sakhee's much anticipated reappearance may be put on hold as the the world's highest rated horse of 2001 may skip Saturday's due to the prevailing fast ground at Ascot.

Godolphin will not make a commitment concerning any of their three intended runners in the 1 1/2-mile Group 1 contest until trainer Saeed bin Suroor and racing manager Simon Crisford walk the course on Saturday morning. Sakhee will run only if the ground softens to good. Grandera will run if the ground remains good to firm. Their pacesetter Narrative will likely run in any event, even though Godolphin did not name a rider for him at entry time on Friday.

Officials at Ascot have been watering the course since Tuesday, but only to maintain the current good to firm going. With sunshine predicted through Saturday, the propsects of Sakhee's participation in the $1,180,875 King George look dim.

Even should he run, there are doubts about his chances. He has not run on turf since taking the Arc last Oct. 7 by six lengths, and has not run at all since finishing third in the Dubai World Cup on March 23. Although he is probably ten lengths better on turf than dirt, Sakhee may not be quite ready for a major test like the King George.

Grandera, who will be Dettori's mount should Sakhee defect, looked sharp winning the 1 1/4-mile Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot, but he has fallen just short in both tries at the King George distance. He will love the ground but may lack the stamina. Frnakie Dettori will ride Grandera if Sakhee does not run. If Sakhee runs, Dettori will choose between the the two with Jamie Spencer riding the other.

It is Boreal who could take advantage of the favorites' vulnerability. The Peter Schiergen inmate became the first German-trained winner of a British Group 1 race in 28 years when he landed the Coronation Cup at Epsom last month. A half brother to the very fine filly Borgia, he was a fast closing third in Nayef's Dubai Sheema Classic off a six-month layoff on the same ground he will get on Saturday and is great value at 16-1.

Moreover, Boreal picks up the services of Olivier Peslier as his Coronation Cup rider, Kieren Fallon, has decided to stick with Arc fourth Golan, who will be running for the first time since finishing sixth in the Japan Cup in November.

Zindabad, a course and distance winner on similar ground in the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot, holds an edge for the minor places over his equally matched rivals Storming Home and Millenary, the latter being another who may not run because of the going. Nayef would be a big threat at his best but he has disappointed in the Tattersalls Gold Cup and the Prince of Wales, although he will get the sentimental vote as a half brother to the recently deceased 1989 King George winner, Nashwan.

The wild card is French invader Aquarelliste. The winner of three Group 1's at or about 1 1/4 miles, she flopped when third in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud but would threaten if up to her Arc runner-up effort. She gets a three-pound break as the only filly in the field which, with the absence of Derby winners High Chaparral and Sulamani, is devoid of 3-year-olds for the first time since 1969 and only the second time in its 52-year history.