King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes

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  • Dylan Thomas gave Aidan O’Brien his second King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot today when he powered home four lengths clear of Youmzain to win what has always been regarded as the mid-season middle distance championship.

    The O’Brien camp, whose Scorpion made much of the running to help set the race up for his stable companion, had expressed fears about the ground earlier in the week but a couple of drying days had turned a quagmire into a ‘beautiful’ ground.

    Johnny Murtagh, the winning jockey, had a job to settle his mount early on but when he pulled him wide for a run two furlongs out the result never looked in doubt. Youmzain, who had slipped-streamed him, threatened for the briefest of moments but flattered to deceive. “It’s amazing how easy they are to ride when they’re travelling for you,” said Murtagh.

    For much of the week the media had panned the race as sub-standard and, although there were no three-year-olds in the line up, even Manduro, currently the highest rated horse in Europe, would have struggled to go with Dylan Thomas today whose one requirement, explained O’Brien, is a strongly run race.

    “He’s a proper horse off a strong pace, he’s won an Irish Derby and the Irish Champion Stakes over a mile and a quarter so he’s proved he’s top class,” said O’Brien. “I’ve always regarded the King George as a top race and it’s no different this year. Last year we wanted to run Dylan Thomas in the Arc but had to stand down (for Hurricane Run – in the same ownership) but maybe this year we’ll be able to run.”

    Two and a half lengths behind Youmzain in third was Maraahel who is still to crack a Group One victory, with Godolphin’s Laverock in fourth. The popular stayer Sergeant Cecil finished sixth beating just one home, the German raider Prince Flori.


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