David Morgan

Chief Journalist


Newmarket July Course gallop for King Hermes

Japan’s raiders King Hermes and Bathrat Leon are warming up for their Group One assignments in England.

King Hermes stepped up his Group One July Cup preparations this week with a stretch out on the Al Bahathri Polytrack and is scheduled to test out the turf on the Newmarket July Course early next week.

The three-year-old’s trainer Yoshito Yahagi will land in England on Monday ahead of a likely Tuesday racecourse workout, eight days out from the first of two European assignments for the colt.  

King Hermes is lodging at the Carlburg Stables of Roger Varian, along with his stablemate, the Group Two Godolphin Mile winner Bathrat Leon, who is being pointed towards the Group One Sussex Stakes at Goodwood on July 27.

“King Hermes had a five-furlong gallop on the Al Bahathri and David Egan rode him, we really appreciate that he helped us out. We’re very satisfied with the work and how the horse moved. Both horses have been settling in very well,” said Yahagi’s assistant trainer Yukihiko Araki, who has been overseeing the Hiroo Race Co Ltd-owned pair since their arrival on June 24.


Bathrat Leon wins the Godolphin Mile at Meydan Racecourse on March 26, 2022 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Mahmoud Khaled/Getty Images)

Bathrat Leon, who has not raced since his big night at Meydan in late March, will have his first workout on Saturday on the Warren Hill gallop under Araki, and there are plans for Oisin Murphy to take the reins in a gallop that could take place the following weekend.

Ryusei Sakai will ride the horses in their races.

Agnes World landed the July Cup 22 years ago for Japan and King Hermes will attempt to become the first non-European trained winner of the 1200-metre feature since then. Australian sprinter Starspangledbanner won the race in 2010, but was trained by Aidan O’Brien at the time.

King Hermes – a son of the great sprinter Lord Kanaloa – has not raced at a distance as short as 1200 metres since he posted a career debut win at Sapporo a year ago. He rounded off a three-start juvenile campaign with victory in the Group Two Keio Hai Nisai Stakes at Tokyo in November and has raced just twice this term, latterly when sixth behind Danon Scorpion in the Group One NHK Mile Cup on May 8.

Bathrat Leon was fourth as a juvenile in the Group One Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes, behind the recent Platinum Jubilee Stakes runner Grenadier Guards. His career went off the rails after he unseated his rider in the 2021 NHK Mile Cup but after five races in the wilderness he exploded back to form in Dubai.

Yahagi is looking to continue his incredible overseas form of the past 14 months. In that time, he has won major races in Hong Kong, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, and the USA where his mares Loves Only You and Marche Lorraine became Japan’s first two winners at the Breeders’ Cup. 



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