Click above to watch Nathaniel winning the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes (G1)…
(Image : Daily Mail - Footage : Racing UK)
KING GEORGE VI & QUEEN ELIZABETH STAKES
Ascot, Turf, 2400m
23 July 2011
Last month’s King Edward VII Stakes (G2) hero, Nathaniel (Ire) (Galileo) was supplemented, at a cost of £75,000, for Ascot’s G1 King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes Saturday, and justified connections’ faith with a 2 3/4-length victory in the £1-million contest.
“Nathaniel is getting better and better, and showed it today,” commented trainer John Gosden. “My inclination is to take him straight for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1) at Longchamp October 2, with perhaps a racecourse gallop beforehand.”
Nathaniel, who received a 12-pound allowance from his four elders, was positioned in second as Debussy set a sedate early pace, so sedate that the eventual winner enjoyed a brief interlude on the front end before Godolphin’s pacemaker set about his task in earnest after a half mile. Retaining his position of stealth until the home turn, the homebred quickly assumed command and set sail for home at the top of the lane.The race took a nasty twist soon after when Godolphin’s Rewilding broke a cannon bone and threw Frankie Dettori to the turf. Rewilding was later euthanized. However, there was no looking back for Nathaniel, and he felt the full force of jockey William Buick’s urgings inside the final quarter-mile to stave off the vain bid of Workforce, who compromised his chance of winning by taking an errant path towards the stands’ side in the closing stages. St Nicholas Abbey stayed on well, but was unable to mount a serious threat and filled the show.
“First of all, I would like to say how sorry I am for Rewilding and his connections - it’s never nice to see that happen,” said William Buick. “My fellow jumped in front and Debussy’s jockey, Ahmed Ajtebi, obviously didn’t intend on making the running, so I let my horse stride along. It wasn’t ideal, and I was happy when I eventually got a lead off Ahmed and then I took it up turning in. This horse is getting better and better, and today he showed how good he is. I always knew he was a very good horse, but I didn’t know that he was going to be this good this soon. I could see Workforce in the corner of my eye, and you’ve got to have a lot of respect for a horse like him, but Nathaniel was never stopping and he galloped on well to the line. I remember coming along with my father before I started riding to watch the race the year Golan won, and now I’m here winning the King George - it’s just a dream come true.”
John Gosden added, “It’s been a wet week, we’ve been lucky to get the good-to-soft ground and he won well. He loves this track, and to finish in front of a horse like Workforce is everything. It was an intelligent ride by William and I left it completely up to him how to ride the race. He let him stride on, which was not ideal, but then again Workforce would have been better if they had gone a pace.”
Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News