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King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes 2007  

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Dylan Thomas Runs Away With King George
28/07/07

The Aidan O’Brien-trained Dylan Thomas was the hugely impressive winner of the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes when coming home four lengths clear of Youmzain.

The winner’s stablemate Scorpion made much of the running before Johnny Murtagh, aboard Dylan Thomas, asked his mount for an effort two furlongs from home and ran out a facile winner.

“He’s a proper horse and we’ve always thought he was brilliant,” said O’Brien. “He likes an evenly-run mile and a quarter and this is only his second time at a mile and a half

“Mick (Kinane on Scorpion) was very happy that if nobody else was going to go on then he would but Dylan Thomas’s stride is so long that it takes him time to get into gear. Scorpion gets a mile and a half well and we didn’t want a messy pace. Dylan Thomas looked like he was doing plenty today but when he got into the straight he found another gear.”

Dylan Thomas is as short as 5/1 with Coral for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and O’Brien added: “He’s got a lot of class and gets a mile and a half well so all those sort of races are open to him. We were hoping to run in the Arc last year but we had to stand back but hopefully we won't have to stand back this year.

"It will depend on what happens with the others but all the big mile-and-a-quarter and mile- and-a-half races are open to him. Today was his big one for the middle of the summer. I don’t know whether the last time he went on the dirt (in the Breeders’ Cup) he might have come to the end of his tether because it was late in the year.”

Asked whether the race was sub-standard this year, O’Brien added: “The King George is always a good race and to the racing public it is only as good a race as you (the press) build it up to be. In my opinion I thought it was a great race today and we had two top-notchers running in it.

“The King George is always a great race and it is only as good as the media make it out to be. I am not into hyping horses and everyone can make their own opinion, but he is a serious horse.

“In other years when we have run three-year-olds, like when we won with Galileo, we have not had other horses to go for it. The race is a tough test for three-year-olds, Galileo had to have a rest afterwards and then they tend to need a break.

“But we’re lucky the lads are now keeping the older horses in training and the public are able to see how good the horses really are, whereas in the past they might have gone to stud.”

Murtagh added: “It was always going according to plan. I followed Richard Hills and when I eased out and let him go he won very impressively. I looked up at the big screen, which is great to have, to see how far ahead I was - it was nice and easy in the last furlong once I’d looked up!

“I think whatever the pace today he would have won easily and I think he would also have been a good winner over a mile and a quarter. He’s a horse who loves to travel.

“I rode him in the Derby last year and when you look back now I didn’t do the best thing by taking up the running but he was only beaten by a head or so. We learned how he should be ridden after that.

“Everybody’s knocking the race today but I’ll look forward to meeting the people who didn’t turn up today and beating them. Maybe there weren’t 20 runners or a Derby winner today but he’s a very special horse and the King George is a very special race.”

Joint-owner Michael Tabor added: “He showed what a good horse he is and won very comfortably. I was always confident he would win before the race and then he was always in a good position in the race so there weren’t going to be any hard luck stories. Perhaps it’s a shame that the Derby winner wasn’t here but I’m very happy to win this.”

Race 5 - King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes - Placed Quotes

SECOND, THIRD AND FOURTH IN KING GEORGE ALL HAPPY

The connections of Youmzain, Maraahel and Laverock - second, third and fourth respectively behind Dylan Thomas - were all contented following the King George and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

Mick Channon said of Youmzain, beaten four lengths into second by Dylan Thomas: “People were knocking the King George this year but there were some very good horses running and Youmzain has some good form to his name.

“Dylan Thomas is a very good horse and our horse has run a cracker. I’m delighted.

“As far as I’m concerned, he goes for the Arc now. I will see was his owner Jaber Abdullah wants to do but we can go where we want to with him now, whether it be the Breeders’ Cup or Hong Kong.”

Bruce Raymond, Racing Manager to Jaber Abdullah, added: “I think Youmzain must now be considered a worthy Arc contender and will be prepared for that race.”

A further three-and-a-half lengths back in third was Maraahel and Angus Gold, Racing Manager to owner Hamdan Al Maktoum, commented: “Maraahel has run another good race, we couldn’t ask for more - bar about seven lengths!

“He clearly hasn’t lost his speed and he could easily go back to a mile and a quarter. We will look at the Juddmonte International again for him.”

Jockey Richard Hills added: “I was disappointed he didn’t win but he gave me everything and ran his usual good race.”

Godolphin’s contender Laverock was another half-length behind Maraahel in fourth and trainer Saeed bin Suroor was satisfied.

The Godolphin trainer said: “He has run very well to finish fourth in the King George and tried his best.

“I think he softer ground suits him better.

“We have no plans but will look at Group One races abroad for him.”

Frankie Dettori, Laverock’s rider, added: “He ran good - he gave me a good feel. I felt he had a chance turning for home and he nearly got third. I was short of room for a time and that might have cost me third. It was the best he has ever run.”

 

4.20pm KING GEORGE VI & QUEEN ELIZABETH STAKES (GROUP ONE)
£750,000 guaranteed, 1m 4f, For 3yo+ Weights 3yo colts and geldings 8st 9lb; fillies 8st 6lb; 4yo+ colts and geldings 9st 7lb; fillies 9st 4lb Entries 37 pay £2,625 1st Forfeit 18 pay £3,000 Confirmed 8 pay £1,875 Penalty value 1st £425,850; 2nd £161,400; 3rd £80,775; 4th £40,275; 5th £20,175; 6th £10,125

1 DYLAN THOMAS (IRE) (Sue Magnier & Michael Tabor) Aidan O'Brien IRE 4-9-07 Johnny Murtagh [5] 5/4f
2 YOUMZAIN (IRE) (Jaber Abdullah) Mick Channon 4-9-07 Richard Hughes [1] 12/1
3 MARAAHEL (IRE) (Hamdan Al Maktoum) Sir Michael Stoute 6-9-07v Richard Hills [3] 6/1
4 LAVEROCK (IRE) (Godolphin) Saeed bin Suroor 5-9-07 Frankie Dettori [7]
5 SCORPION (IRE) (Sue Magnier & Michael Tabor) Aidan O'Brien IRE 5-9-07 Michael Kinane [2]
6 SERGEANT CECIL (Terry Cooper) Rod Millman 8-9-07 Ryan Moore [4]
7 PRINCE FLORI (GER) (Stall Reni) Sascha Smrczek GER 4-9-07 Jimmy Fortune [6]

7 ran
Distances: 4, 3 1/2, 1/2, 3, 5, 3 1/2
Time: 2m 31.11s
Breeder: Tower Bloodstock
Breeding: b c Danehill (USA) - Lagrion (USA) (Diesis)
Totes: Win: £2.30 Places: £1.40, £5.10 Exacta: £16.30


DYLAN THOMAS (IRE) - THE WINNER

4 b c Danehill (USA) - Lagrion (USA) (Diesis)
Form: 1126/131414-11221 Owner: Sue Magnier & Michael Tabor
Trainer: Aidan O’Brien IRE Jockey: Johnny Murtagh Breeder: Tower Bloodstock

Dylan Thomas
Top class performer Dylan Thomas is a half-brother to four winners, notably Queen’s Logic, unbeaten in five starts including the Group One Cheveley Park Stakes. He landed his first two starts as a juvenile in 2005 before going down narrowly to Blitzkrieg in the Group Three Autumn Stakes at Salisbury, and ended his first season with a sixth place to Palace Episode in the Group One Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster. Dylan Thomas enjoyed a superb three-year-old campaign, landing the Group Two Derby Trial Stakes at Leopardstown, before going down by under a quarter of a length when third to Sir Percy in the Derby. He made amends in the Irish equivalent, when the impressive three and a half length victor over Gentlewave. He also took the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown after an epic tussle with brilliant mare Ouija Board and ran fourth to Notnowcato in the International stakes at York. He failed to handle the dirt surface when last of four to Bernardini in the Grade One Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park, USA, in October, 2006. This season, Dylan Thomas has shown excellent form, taking the Listed Alleged Stakes at the Curragh on April 15 and following up two weeks later when sent to France for the Group One Prix Ganay at Longchamp, coming home two lengths if front of Irish Wells. His last two outings have yielded two runner-up finishes, failing by a head to catch Notnowcato in the Group One Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh on May 27, and on his latest run when beaten a length and a quarter behind French superstar Manduro in the Group One Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 20. Brilliantly ridden, he was the decisive winner of today’s King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes. Race Record: Runs: 15; 1st: 8; 2nd: 3; 3rd: 1; Win & Place Prize Money: £2,040,775

Sue Magnier & Michael Tabor
Few in the racing world can boast better connections than Sue Magnier. Her husband John is the most powerful man in the bloodstock world as owner of the global Coolmore breeding empire and she is daughter of arguably the greatest 20th century trainer, Vincent O'Brien, who saddled three consecutive Grand National winners and six Derby winners. Her brother David O'Brien is another Derby-winning handler while another brother, Charles, is also a successful trainer. In the 1970s John Magnier (born February 10, 1948), the son of a Co Cork dairy farmer and stud owner, teamed up with the late Robert Sangster and trainer Vincent O'Brien with the idea of buying potential stallions as yearlings. This they did with great success, counting Alleged, Be My Guest, Caerleon, El Gran Senor, Golden Fleece, Sadler's Wells and Storm Bird amongst those who were bought or bred. Magnier subsequently bought out his partners at Coolmore - which now has huge offshoots in Australia and America - and owns the nearby magnificent Ballydoyle training stable. He has a myriad of other business interests, mainly with top jump owner J P McManus and the duo held a 28.7% stake in Manchester United FC, which they sold to American tycoon Malcolm Glazer. The pair have also invested in the Barchester chain of nursing homes, Castlebeck care homes, a property company that owns Unilever House in London, leisure clubs, including the Chelsea Harbour Club, and the Sandy Lane Hotel in Barbados. His fortune is estimated at £723 million in the 2007 Sunday Times Rich List. London-born and Monaco-based Michael Tabor founded the Arthur Prince bookmaking firm before selling it for £28 million in 1995 and still has a stake in the Victor Chandler firm. Like Magnier, he spends much of the winter in Barbados and became a partner in many of the Coolmore horses in the mid 1990s after his Thunder Gulch won the 1995 Kentucky Derby. Tabor is valued at £620 million in the Sunday Times Rich List and his colt Entrepreneur, trained by Sir Michael Stoute, took the 1997 2,000 Guineas to provide a first British Classic success for the Sue Magnier/Tabor partnership, who also won that season's Irish equivalent and Irish Derby with Desert King. The duo won the Vodafone Derby in 2001 and 2002 with Galileo and High Chaparral. In partnership with Sir Alex Ferguson, Magnier owned Rock Of Gibraltar, who won seven successive Group One victories including the 2002 2,000 Guineas. Other major wins include the 1998 2,000 Guineas with King Of Kings, the 1999 French Derby, Irish Derby, Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and the 2000 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes with Montjeu and a run of five consecutive Group One successes in 2000 from Giant's Causeway. Galileo also won the Irish Derby and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes after his 2001 Epsom win, while further British Classic glory has come in the St Leger with Milan (2001), Brian Boru (2003) and Scorpion (2005). High Chaparral, who went on to take the 2002 Irish Derby, also landed that year's Breeders' Cup Turf and then dead-heated in the same event 12 months later. In 2005, Coolmore won both the 2000 Guineas with Footstepsinthesand and the 1,000 Guineas with Virginia Waters, while Hurricane Run took the Irish Derby and Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. George Washington, winner of the 2,000 Guineas, was the star of the show in 2006, while Alexandrova took the Vodafone Oaks at Epsom. This year, the Coolmore empire’s successes include the Irish Derby with Soldier Of Fortune, the Irish Oaks with Peeping Fawn and the French 2,000 Guineas with Astronomer Royal.Previous King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes wins: 2007 DYLAN THOMAS, 2006 HURRICANE RUN, 2001 GALILEO, 2000 MONTJEU

Aidan O’Brien IRE
Born in Wexford on October 16, 1969, Aidan Patrick O’Brien has been phenomenally successful in his relatively short training career. After a spell with Jim Bolger, he became assistant to his now wife, Anne-Marie, and her father Joe Crowley, before taking over the reins when granted a licence to train himself in 1993. His impact on the Flat was made with backing of the highest calibre in the shape of John Magnier and Coolmore, who offered O’Brien the use of Ballydoyle Stables, where the trainer’s namesake, legendary Irish handler Vincent O’Brien, had enjoyed so much success. In 1997, in only his third season at the helm of the Tipperary yard, he confirmed his intentions on the Flat when winning the Irish 1,000 Guineas, the Irish 2,000 Guineas and Irish Derby. The following year, his first British Classic runner, King Of Kings, won the 2,000 Guineas and the second, Shahtoush, finished runner-up in the following day’s 1,000 Guineas and went on to land the Vodafone Oaks a month later. The successes have since flowed thanks to the likes of Giant’s Causeway (five successive Group Ones in 2000), Second Empire, Saffron Walden, Stravinsky, Fasliyev and an embarrassment of riches in 2001 that yielded 23 Group One successes headed by the Vodafone Derby and the Irish Derby, as well as the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, with Galileo. Other Classic glory came via Imagine (Irish 1,000 Guineas and Vodafone Oaks), Black Minnaloushe (Irish 2,000 Guineas), Rose Gypsy (French 1,000 Guineas) and Milan (St Leger) while Mozart became champion sprinter and O’Brien totally dominated the two-year-old division as Johannesburg provided him with a first Breeders’ Cup success in the 2001 Juvenile at Belmont Park. He was champion trainer in both Britain and Ireland in 2001 and 2002. In 2002 he enjoyed success with the remarkable Rock Of Gibraltar (the only horse to win seven European Group One races in a row) and also the dual Derby and Breeders’ Cup winner High Chaparral. Rock Of Gibraltar and Hawk Wing gave O’Brien a 1-2 in the 2002 2,000 Guineas while High Chaparral and Hawk Wing provided him with the first and second in the 2002 Vodafone Derby. The following season he sent out Yesterday to win the Irish 1,000 Guineas and Brian Boru triumphed at Doncaster in the St Leger. O’Brien enjoyed further success with Hawk Wing in the Lockinge Stakes and High Chaparral in the Irish Champion Stakes and Breeders’ Cup Turf in 2003. It was an indifferent season for the Ballydoyle team in 2004, but O’Brien was still successful in the Shadwell Stud Middle Park Stakes with Ad Valorem and the Tattersalls Gold Cup with Powerscourt. He enjoyed an incredible Classic double at Newmarket in the spring of 2005 when he won both the 2,000 Guineas (Footstepsinthesand) and the 1,000 Guineas (Virginia Waters), and added a third British Classic with Scorpion’s success in the St Leger at Doncaster. Oratorio captured the Coral-Eclipse Stakes and Irish Champion Stakes, and O’Brien also unleashed a raft of high-class two-year-olds, ending the season with the top-rated European juvenile colt (George Washington) and filly (Rumplestiltskin). George Washington captured the 2,000 Guineas and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes in 2006, while Alexandrova took the Vodafone Oaks as well as the Irish and Yorkshire equivalents, and Dylan Thomas won the Irish Derby and Irish Champion Stakes. O’Brien has enjoyed further Classic success this term with Soldier Of Fortune in the Irish Derby, Peeping Fawn in the Irish Oaks and Astronomer Royal in the French 2,000 Guineas. King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes record: 2007-1 DYLAN THOMAS, 2005-5 Ace, 2004-6 Tycoon, 2001-1 GALILEO, 2001-12 Ice Dancer, 1998-8 Risk Material

Johnny Murtagh
Born in Co Meath, Ireland, on May 14, 1970, Johnny Murtagh, who is married to Orla with two children, was apprenticed to John Oxx and became Irish champion apprentice in 1989. Weight problems forced him to relinquish his position as stable jockey to Oxx but Murtagh overcame those difficulties and in 1993 finished runner-up in the Irish jockeys' championship. In 1995, he became Irish champion jockey and has since gained international prominence, riding in Dubai during the winter (where he has been champion rider), winning the 1995 Breeders' Cup Mile on Ridgewood Pearl and the following year's Beverly D Stakes on Timarida. He enjoyed a phenomenal international season in 2000, winning 12 Group Ones in six different countries, partnering Sinndar to victory in both the Vodafone Derby and Irish Derby and the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, winning the Irish Oaks, Yorkshire Oaks and Prix de l'Opera on Petrushka and the Emirates Airline Champion Stakes and Breeders' Cup Turf on Kalanisi among others. He was the most successful rider at Royal Ascot in 2001 with five wins, including the Gold Cup on Royal Rebel and St James's Palace Stakes on Black Minnaloushe, aboard whom he also won the 2002 Irish 2,000 Guineas. He won the 2002 2000 Guineas for Aidan O'Brien on Sir Alex Ferguson's Rock Of Gibraltar and landed a second Vodafone Derby aboard what again seemed the O'Brien second string, High Chaparral, and gained a third renewal of the premier Classic with Motivator in 2005. In 2003 he won the Budweiser Irish Derby on Alamshar and took a break in the summer to sort out problems with his back and weight. He relinquished his position as stable jockey to John Oxx in 2004 and had a short-lived spell as stable jockey to David Loder. He is now freelance. During the 2005/06 jump season, Murtagh rode over hurdles and came close to riding a Cheltenham Festival winner when second on Golden Cross in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle. King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes record: 2007-1 DYLAN THOMAS, 2005-9 Gamut, 2004-8 High Accolade, 2003-1 ALAMSHAR, 2000-3 Daliapour, 1999-5 Sunshine Street

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