Poet’s Word has given trainer Sir Michael Stoute a record sixth success in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes by denying stablemate Crystal Ocean in an epic finish to the midsummer feature at Ascot.
The winner of the Prince of Wales’s Stakes over 10 furlongs (2000m) at Royal Ascot, Poet’s Word (7-4) edged in front in the last 100 yards under James Doyle, after 6-4 favourite Crystal Ocean had set sail for home.
Doyle had Poet’s Word at the back of the field and had plenty to do as Crystal Ocean, ridden by William Buick, was seemingly in a better position heading to the business end of the race.
But Poet’s Word gave chase and nailed him close to the line to win by a neck.
He joins Shergar (1981), Opera House (1993), Golan (2002), Conduit (2009) and Harbinger (2010) as a Stoute-trained winner of the King George.
“Two wonderful brave athletes. The first reaction is you feel sorry for the one that got beaten,” Stoute said.
“It’s a great mid-season race and we’ve been lucky enough to do well in it. It’s a great team effort, you have no idea how much they put into these horses.
“I couldn’t split them and I don’t think the handicapper could split them.”
Having gone almost three years without a domestic Group One winner until the victory of Ulysses in last year’s Coral-Eclipse at Sandown, Stoute has now saddled five top-level winners in Britain since last July.
“I’m never going to be champion trainer again as I don’t have the numbers and the quality has deteriorated slightly, but at least we are making a few runs.”
The race was run without Cracksman with trainer John Gosden withdrawing him when the ground remained fast.