Acklam Express aimed at Glorious Goodwood after Royal Ascot shock

Royal Ascot surprise package Acklam Express could be aimed at the Group Two King George Qatar Stakes during the Glorious Goodwood Festival in late July.

Acklam Express is now expected to sit out York's John Smith's Cup meeting on July 9, as he bids for Goodwood glory on the Sussex Downs, a track he won at in July 2020.

The Mehmas gelding was sent off at 200/1 for the King's Stand Stakes, but stunned everyone by coming in third only a head behind runner-up Twilight Calls. Australian raider Nature Strip claiming the win.

"He's absolutely fine, he had a little break after Ascot and is now back cantering away," said Malton-based trainer Nick Tinkler.

"He'll now go straight to Goodwood for the King George. We did think about running him at York, but we're now going to head straight to Goodwood. He holds the track record for two-year-olds there so we think that should be the place we should go.

"He was a massive price the other day, but he ran really well and we're looking forward to having another throw at the dartboard. I don't think it was a fluke because he has placed in Group races in Dubai before."

In the immediate aftermath, the trainer spoke of his desire to make the trip to the Breeders' Cup with the horse. Tinkler has revealed connections have received an invitation to run at Keeneland in November, but may take in the Nunthorpe Stakes on the Knavesmire in August before a final decision is made on any international adventures.

He continued: "He has been invited (to the Breeders' Cup), but we'll see how he goes at Goodwood and he might run in the Nunthorpe and then a decision will probably be made after that."

One of Tinker's other charges, Isla Kai, could make an appearance at the York this weekend.

The consistent handicapper was last seen finishing a respectable sixth in the Royal Hunt Cup and Tinkler is confident the four-year-old can add to his four career victories if encountering ideal conditions.

"He doesn't actually need soft ground, he just doesn't want firm ground. He will be entered for York next Saturday, but won't run if the ground is quick," said Tinkler.

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