King Of Steel set for Prince of Wales's Stakes among big-race targets

Champion Stakes winner King Of Steel will return to Roger Varian’s Newmarket yard this month after enjoying a three-month winter break at owner Amo Racing’s base in Ireland, with big targets for 2024 in mind.

Varian was in County Westmeath a few days ago to see his stable star at Robson Aguiar’s yard near Mullingar and reported him in "fantastic shape".

The son of Wootton Bassett enjoyed a stellar 2023, culminating in his scintillating success in the Champion Stakes at Ascot in October, which was Frankie Dettori’s farewell ride before he headed off to the US.

Given King Of Steel also won the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot and finished third in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at the same track, Varian expects his main summer target to be the Prince of Wales’s Stakes back there in June.

King Of Steel was last seen finishing a close fifth behind Auguste Rodin in the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita in November, when he had to race from a wide draw in stall nine.

The colt will have a new jockey this year in David Egan, who was appointed retained rider by Amo boss Kia Joorabchian towards end of last year in place of Kevin Stott, who last rode King Of Steel when fourth in the Irish Champion Stakes in September.

Varian said: “I went to see King Of Steel at Robson’s place a few days ago and he looks in fantastic shape. I couldn’t be happier with his condition and the plan is for him to return to us before the end of the month.

"It’s a bit early to be talking about targets but we know he likes Ascot, so it makes sense to point towards the Prince of Wales’s Stakes.”