The Queen’s Dartmouth among ten in King George
18 Jul 2016
Royal runner added to Saturday's big race at Ascot at a cost of £75,000
The Queen discusses Dartmouth’s Royal Ascot win with Stoute and Peslier. Picture: Racingfotos.com
The Queen’s racing advisor John Warren believes the supplemented Dartmouth is capable of running a “mighty race” in Saturday’s QIPCO-sponsored King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
Trained by Sir Michael Stoute and owned by Her Majesty, Dartmouth won the Hardwicke Stakes at the royal meeting over the same 12-furlong distance as Saturday’s race.
The four-year-old son of Dubawi has won each of his three races this season and will be arriving at the top of his game as he tackles the odds-on favourite, Postponed.
“The horse is in exceptional form and the trainer has been delighted with his progress since Ascot,” John Warren, racing manager for The Queen, said.
“With that side of things going so well, we felt he was a worthy candidate.
“Olivier Peslier, who rode him to such good effect in the Hardwicke, will ride him once again so there is continuity on that front.”
Stoute will be bidding for a record sixth win in the race which he last won in 2010 with Harbinger, also ridden by Peslier, while the Queen has not been successful since Aureole in 1954.
Warren went on: “To race in Group One events you need to be genuine and consistent and the one thing you can definitely say about this horse is that he is genuine.
“As he has grown up and matured he has just become so reliable.
“He’s won all his three races this season and has progressed each time, and he deserves to run at this level.
“If he produces his Royal Ascot form on Saturday then I think he’ll run a mighty race.”
Dartmouth is one of ten potential runners, along with last year’s winner Postponed, who has been unbeaten since and has also changed trainers, now residing with Roger Varian rather than Luca Cumani.
Postponed would become the first horse since Swain in 1997 and 1998 to win back-to-back runnings.
Varian has left in Ajman Bridge in case he needs to be used as a pacemaker following the sad loss of Roseburg who carried out his duties perfectly at Epsom in the Coronation Cup.
“Unfortunately we won’t be using Roseburg, but we do have Ajman Bridge and we’ll decide whether he runs when we see how the race is shaping up,” Varian told At The Races.
“It’s the stuff of dreams, to be heading to a race as prestigious as the King George with a horse of the quality of Postponed, it’s something I would have (only) dreamt of doing only a few years ago.
“The King George is a race I grew up watching and to be involved in it at the highest level is very exciting for me and everyone involved.
“For me it’s one of the summer highlights, it’s always a competitive race, and it will be, no race at the highest level is easy to win.
“Of course, Postponed’s credentials are very strong and he’ll need to be on his game, but hopefully he will be.”
The clash should take place on “perfect summer ground”, according to clerk of the course Chris Stickels.
“We are delighted Dartmouth has been supplemented and while Postponed is the one to beat it certainly adds to the race,” he said.
“People tried to crab last year’s race but Postponed has been unbeaten since and has proven to be top class.
“I don’t think there’s much rain about this week. The thunder which is forecast is north of us, but we may get some showers on Friday.
“We’ve watered today and put 10mm on the straight course and 5mm on the round last night and we’ll do similar on Wednesday and take a view then.
“I’d imagine it will be perfect summer ground.”
John Gosden and owner Lady Bamford had to settle for a narrow second 12 months ago with Eagle Top and this year they send Wings Of Desire to have a go at Postponed.
Winner of the Dante at York, he went on to finish a respectable fourth in the Derby. Gosden may also run Western Hymn
Aidan O’Brien can choose between Highland Reel, who was second to Dartmouth in the Hardwicke, Shogun and Sir Isaac Newton.
There is the possibility of French interest with Erupt, while Second Step is still in for Cumani.
He will instead wait for the Juddmonte International Stakes at York next month.