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Review Of Saturday’s King George: Poet’s Word Edges Out Stablemate Crystal Ocean In King George Thriller

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The 2018 King George V1 and Queen Elizabeth Stakes may not go down as one of the greatest renewals of Ascot’s mid-summer showpiece but that will not bother Newmarket trainer Sir Michael Stoute who won the mile and a half contest for a record sixth time, his two runners not only filling the first two places but such was their dominance that the third horse home, Coronet, got no nearer than nine lengths to the two principles at the finish.

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Last season’s St Leger third Crystal Ocean was just favoured in the betting as the 6-4 favourite ahead of stable companion Poet’s Word, a 7-4 chance based on his defeat of Cracksman ( a late withdrawal due to the firm ground ) in Royal Ascot’s Prince Of Wales’s Stakes last month. Both horses went into Saturday’s race as the clear form picks and at no stage did anything other than a Stoute victory look possible.

As long-time leader Rostropovich dropped away with two furlongs to run, Crystal Ocean and William Buick were the first to commit as they shot clear of the field. At this stage James Doyle made his move aboard Poet’s Word who still had three lengths to make up going inside the final furlong, hitting the front only as the the final 75 yards approached. The Saeed Suhail-owned five-year-old edging a stirring battle by a neck in a contest where the runner-up lost absolutely nothing in defeat.

“ It’s a pity there was a loser “ was how the successful trainer summed up the finish, adding: “ I thought Doyle could have done a little bit better and got a dead-heat! They’re two such admirable horses, delightful to train. It’s a great mid-season race and we’ve been lucky enough to do very well in it. It’s a great team effort. You have no idea how much they all put into these horses. “

Such was the superiority of the Stoute pair that both horses look sure to make their mark in the major Group 1 middle-distance races during the rest of the season. Poet’s Word is a best price 3-1 with Sky Bet and Betvictor for the Juddmonte International at York on 24th August while Crystal Ocean looks overpriced at the 11-1 available with Betfair Sportsbook for the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe on the first Sunday in October.

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