Nathaniel, after going to the front with just over a furlong to race, looked like holding on, but Danedream came to pip him on the post by a nose.
Betfair’s in-running market certainly indicated that - the challenging Danedream had drifted to 16/1 in running on Betfair, while Nathaniel traded at 1/10 in running.
The triumphant trainer Peter Schiergen said: “It is a very good feeling to win my first Group race at Ascot. Before I had places in Group races here.
“She has won on all sorts of ground and doesn’t mind. It was a French race last time, it was a good start and then a small pace followed by a sprint and she didn’t like it. She has been better since and last year was the same. She is very relaxed at home and so good in the mornings.
“This victory is very important for German racing. She is very good and she wins her races with her head and her heart.
“This will be her last year of racing. I had a good feeling coming into the straight that she would be placed but I wasn’t sure about a win. She had a good run in the final quarter-mile and everything turned out all right.”
The winning jockey Andrasch Starke added: “I had a good feeling passing the post but it was so close. When people came running to me, I thought I had won. It is an unbelievable feeling. I am very appreciative - it is a great moment for Germany and racing history.
“Hopefully, we will go back to the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe but after today she has done everything - winning the Arc and King George. Everything is a bonus from now on.
“We would have been happy with a place after her run last time. She is four now and has had no allowance since last year. Today she improved. There was an unbelievable feeling from German racing fans after her Arc victory and I think after today it is like after the Olympics - German racing will be very proud. England has the toughest races, with uphill finishes. It is tough, especially for a filly. I don’t think there was a bad horse in the race today.
“What a moment this is for me! For all of the German racing fans are sitting at home watching the TV - it was an unbelievable feeling today.
“She was beaten in the straight at Saint-Cloud, which has never happened to her before - she didn’t kick once. When she came home the day after, she didn’t feel good and I said to the owner and trainer that this wasn’t the filly that I have ridden before. Today, there were no excuses. She is just a small filly but I think that all of her body is heart.”
King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Sponsored By Betfair) (British Champions Series) (Group 1)
£1,000,000 added, 3yo plus, 1m 4f, Class 1 10 ran
Nathaniel, who won the Eclipse at Sandown two weeks ago, came within a nose of becoming the first dual-winner of the King George since Swain in 1998, only to be denied by German raider Danedream.
The John Gosden-trained colt held the lead entering the final 50 yards, but Danedream, who won last season’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe by five lengths, battled on gamely under Andrasch Starke to join William Buick’s charge in the shadow of the post.
Gosden, based in Newmarket, said: “Nathaniel has run a great race, a wonderful race and I am really thrilled with him. I couldn’t tell who had won as they crossed the line and I was on the line.
“The winner has come back to her best. For anyone who was lucky enough to her win the Arc de Triomphe, breaking the track record and destroying all the colts - she is marvellous.
“She didn’t handle the ground at Saint-Cloud the other day - she seems unhappy on loose ground - but she has come here and ran a blinder. Full marks to her.
“Our horse has run his race quite brilliantly and look at the horses behind him. I am beyond thrilled with him and I can’t believe that, in two weeks, he can come back and put two races like that back to back. It’s quite impressive, so full marks to him.
“We will freshen Nathaniel up and I wouldn’t be frightened of the Champion Stakes here - we ran in it last year and hopefully we get a better draw - and we will also look at the Arc. I would love to meet the winner again, but she is good - very good!”
“10 or 12 furlongs is not a problem to him because he has such a high cruising speed. He had the race won and it took something like Danedream to come and get him. It’s great for horse racing and it was a brilliant King George.”
Masked Marvel finished ninth, Gosden added: “The ground was a bit slow for Masked Marvel and he went for the same gap as Danedream, but she had more gas than him.”
DROP BACK IN TRIP A POSSIBILITY FOR ST NICHOLAS ABBEY
St Nicholas Abbey, trained in Ireland by Aidan O’Brien, finished third in the race for a second time. He was anchored at the back of the field under Joseph O’Brien and made up a lot of ground in the straight to finish just over a length and a half behind narrow victor Danedream.
Aidan O’Brien said: “St Nicholas Abbey has run a good race. He was labouring after a furlong and Joseph (O’Brien) had to sit on him and give him a chance - we are delighted.
“He is a fast ground horse and will have no problem dropping back to a mile and a quarter, so there are plenty of options for him.”
Jospeh O’Brien added: “St Nicholas Abbey has run a blinder. He just doesn’t have that same instant turn of foot on sticky ground that he does on fast ground.”
KING GEORGE UNPLACED HORSES
Sea Moon, who was sent of the 2/1 favourite to take the feature race, finished fifth, just under two and a half lengths off the winner Danedream.
Lord Grimthorpe, racing manager to Sea Moon’s owner Khalid Abdulla, commented afterwards on the Beat Hollow colt’s run: “There is nothing really to report - he just didn’t quite fire as we hoped he might. He didn’t travel quite as well throughout the race as we had hoped and he didn’t pick up when he needed too. We will have to have a think about what we do next with him.”
Craig Williams, who rode sixth Dunaden, said: “He never got cover and he seemed to be a little bit on the bridle for the whole race. It was probably the wrong way to ride him.”
Kieren Fallon, who partnered seventh Brown Panther, said: “The ground has just dried out a little bit for my fella - other than that he would have been a lot closer. He’s tough and has run a good race.”