Updated on 09/17/2011 11:02AM

Sulamani gets top billing


Sulamani can bounce back from a subpar performance in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud to take a star-studded renewal of the $1.2 million King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.

The winner in March of the Dubai Sheema Classic over his Saint-Cloud conqueror Ange Gabriel, Sulamani is reported to be in top shape by Simon Crisford, racing manager for owner Godolphin. Frankie Dettori will have the ride aboard Sulamani, last year's French Derby winner, who will appreciate every drop of rain that is predicted to fall at Ascot on Friday.

But victory in this Group 1, 1 1/2-mile race will be a feather in the cap of whoever crosses the line in front. Among the 14 runners are 10 which have won a total of 20 Group 1 races.

They include Kris Kin, making his first start since winning the Epsom Derby on June 7, and recent Irish Derby winner Alamshar, who was third, beaten a length, in the Epsom classic. Three-year-olds have taken just one of the last seven King Georges, that being Galileo in 2001, but with a 12-pound pull in the scale of weights, either Alamshar, the 3-1 favorite, or Kris Kin, the 9-2 co-second choice, would be no surprise.

The horse to beat is Nayef. Also pegged at 9-2, the Marcus Tregoning-trained Nayef followed his brilliant 2 1/2-length victory in the 1 1/4-mile Prince of Wales's Stakes with a fast- closing, somewhat unlucky second to Falbrav in the 1 1/4-mile Eclipse Stakes. He was second by just a head to Golan in last year's King George and will be running late.

Falbrav himself is no slouch. Indeed, his five Group 1 victories are the most in the field. He has won at that level going 1 1/2 miles twice, most recently in November when he outdueled Sarafan in the Japan Cup.

Warrsan makes an interesting dark horse at 16-1. Winner of the

1 1/2-mile Coronation Cup, he was second last out to King George rival Leadership in another 1 1/2-mile Group 1 stakes, the Gran Premio di Milano. This time, however, Leadership will serve primarily as a Godolphin pacesetter for Sulamani and Grandera.