King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes 2011  

Ascot Racecourse


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Nathaniel Scores for Classic Generation

1 Nathaniel 11/2
2 Workforce 6/5F
3 St Nicholas Abbey 7/2
5 ran Distances: 2¾l, 1¼l, 20l
TIME 2m 35.07s (slow by 5.07s)

© Racehorse Photos

Three-year-old Nathaniel proved his champion qualities when he defeated the best of the older generation to win an epic and incident-packed King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

The runaway King Edward VII Stakes winner was supplemented for today’s race at a cost of £75,000 on Monday and after a slow pace he took the lead entering the home straight under William Buick and kept on to prevail by two and three-quarter lengths from last year’s Derby and Arc hero Workforce. Frankie Dettori’s mount Rewilding sadly broke a leg in the home straight and had to be humanely put down.

“He won here well and he loves this track,” said Gosden. “We have been lucky that it has been a wet week - it wasn’t wet during Wimbledon but it has been wet this week and we were lucky to get the ground. To finish in front of a horse like Workforce is everything. He sets the standard - he is an Arc winner, a Derby winner and a phenomenal horse. I think we’ll go straight to the Arc now and maybe just have a racecourse gallop somewhere in between.

“With a bit of luck we will meet Workforce again at Longchamp. Unfortunately we have to supplement again because he hadn’t even broken his maiden when they shut the Arc. It will be wonderful if we can meet again in Paris in October.

“As a three-year-old we get a weight concession and we made that play in the last furlong with Workforce. It was a very good result for the three-year-olds. It was a bit more like a mile and a quarter race today but that didn’t suit us either

“It’s 50 years since my father (Towser) won this race with Aggressor and it’s taken me a long time to emulate him, to have done that is massive thrill. I sat on an armchair at home and rode a finish that day then fell off and sprained my wrist.

“William is a very talented young man. It was a difficult race to gauge because Debussy was not making a true pace and William had to go on- his horse was fighting - and he showed a lot of tactical nous. I told him to ride the race as he found it. He had no instructions because with a five horse race, you must ride it the way it comes up and not be held down by orders.”
Gosden revealed that the horse was nearly not supplemented, at a cost of £75,000, after an accident on Monday.

“He was so full of himself that he jumped up and ripped a hind shoe off. I called the farrier while myself and my assistant Barry held his leg up. The vet bandaged him and then my farrier plugged the whole and put a racing plate on, which he wore today. I rang his owner Nat Rothschild, after whom the horse is named, and said we could stop if he didn’t want to supplement but he said to go ahead. He only went into the race at five minutes before midday.

“We didn’t go to the Grand Prix de Paris last week because the ground had dried up and I think the Arc will be his only other race this year. He’ll be an exciting horse next season.”

Gosden watched the race from the trackside and went to help Rewilding. “I went out with my horse after the parade and saw the race very close up so I was there when the other poor fellow came down on the track and went to help as often the other trainers can’t get down quickly from the stands.

“People watching must understand that I have seen horses galloping loose in a paddock do exactly the same as Rewilding. It is a freakish thing - he just put the leg down wrong and he has broken the cannon bone clean,” added the trainer. “He ran down the track in front of everyone and he stopped. He was very calm and collected and we held him but he had to be dealt with because the leg was completely gone. It’s just a freakish thing and I have seen it happen to horses running loose. He is out now but he was in no pain. It’s the extraordinary thing about this - when they break a leg like that it is as though nature anaesthetises them and he actually had a bite of grass. They would feel more with a cut.”


Starting Price
Beaten Distance
J H M Gosden
William Buick
8st 9lbs
11 - 2
Sir Michael Stoute
R L Moore
9st 7lbs
6 - 5
2 3/4 lengths
St Nicholas Abbey
A P O'Brien
J P O'Brien
9st 7lbs
7 - 2
1 1/4 length
M Al Zarooni
Ahmed Ajtebi
9st 7lbs
50 - 1
20 lengths
M Al Zarooni
L Dettori
9st 7lbs
3 - 1



© Racehorse Photos


Connections of Workforce were left deflated and stunned after the Derby and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe hero hung markedly across the course in the closing stages of the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes (sponsored by Betfair).

The strapping Sir Michael Stoute-trained colt was engaged in a battle for the lead with subsequent winner Nathaniel when he hung to his left in the final furlong and, despite Ryan Moore’s attempts to straighten his mount, Workforce ended up close to the stands’ side rail.

The 6/5 favourite finished two and three quarter lengths second.

Lord Grimthorpe, racing manager to the four-year-old’s owner, Prince Khalid Abdulla, said: “I have no explanation. He travelled really well into the straight and was looking really good, then almost dived left handed.

“It hasn’t helped him but the winner came a long way as well. We don’t want to make excuses.”

He was later reported to have been struck into.

St Nicholas Abbey, sent off a 7/2 chance under Joseph O’Brien, was a further length and a quarter back in third for trainer Aidan O’Brien.

The Ballydoyle handler said: “He ran a lovely race. He stayed on well but we’re not making any excuses.”

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