It was all about Sir Michael Stoute on Saturday as Poet’s Word gave him a record-breaking sixth victory in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes when beating stablemate Crystal Ocean in an absolute thriller.
The son of Poet’s Voice was winning back to back Group 1’s having landed the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot on his previous start. James Doyle settled the colt at the rear of the field as Seamie Heffernan set the fractions on Rostropovich. As the field turned for home it looked like William Buick had stolen a march on Crystal Ocean as the pair kicked for home.
However, a very cool James Doyle slowly wound up Poet’s Word to produce a late surge on the outside to wear down Crystal Ocean in possible one of the highlights of the summer. This victory entered Poet’s Word into Stoute’s growing club of King George winners which include Shergar (1981), Opera House (1993), Golan (2002), Conduit (2009) and Harbinger (2010).
Doyle was beaming:
“He’s a star, there were questions over his best trip, what’s his best trip now? Winning the King George over a mile and a half – he’s so versatile.
“I ended up following Coronet, which wasn’t really the plan, I wanted to be in front of her and if I had have been I think I would have won a bit easier”.
Roger Fell pulled off another fantastic training performance when Burnt Sugar landed back to back competitive handicaps in the Gigaset International Stakes. The son of Lope De Vega landed one of the gambles of the summer when winning the Bunbury Cup earlier this month and racing off only one-pound higher Burnt Sugar repeated the feat on Saturday under Shane Kelly. This Group 1 performer as a two-year-old seems to have really found his groove again and is worth a try back at Group level.
Speaking of back to back victories, Tim Easterby won the York Dash for the second consecutive season when Flying Pursuit made most to deny stablemate Golden Apollo. The five-year-old was down to his lowest mark in twelve months and took full advantage under a competent ride from Nathan Evans.
At York, Thundering Blue continued his progression when taking a competitive renewal of the Group 2 York Stakes. David Menuisier’s five-year-old had finished runner-up to the front-running Euchen Glen in the John Smith’s Cup most recently and he improved on that performance when edging out Brorocco.
The regally bred Elarqam was once again slightly disappointing, having made most of the running the 2000 Guineas fourth was headed inside the closing stages to finish a close-up third. Mark Johnston will hope this run will bring about more improvement and Elarqam can get his head in front soon.
On Sunday, the Group 1 Prix Rothschild took centre stage at Deauville and it was a victory for the home team as Freddy Head’s lightly raced With You was a decisive winner over the Godolphin pair of Crown Walk and Rosa Imperial. The daughter of Dansili only two career defeats had come this season at the hands of Laurens who has looked like one of the standout three-year-old fillies this season behind Alpha Centauri.
After the race Head explained:
“She was beaten a nose in the Saint-Alary and then half a length in the Diane. It was always down to small margins, but she lost nothing in those two defeats,” said Head. “I think she’ll run back here in Jacques le Marois but I need to discuss it with her owner.”
In Germany, the Group 1 Grosser Dallmayr-Preis was the feature at Munich where it was a 1-2 for the raiding party as the classy Benbatl beat the globetrotting and consistent Stormy Antarctic by just under 3 lengths.
The son Dubawi had been a bitter disappointment in the Queen Anne at the royal meeting having had a fruitful campaign in Dubai prior to this. Thankfully with the red-hot Oisin Murphy back in the saddle Benbatl retuned to winning ways and connections can look forward to the remainder of the season with this multiple Group 1 winner.
Ed Walker will undoubtedly be delighted if not slightly frustrated with Stormy Antarctic’s performance in this Group 1 contest. He has been a model of consistency this season including when winning a Group 2 event at Baden-Baden in May. If Walker can cherry pick the right race perhaps his stable star can land that elusive Group 1 win.