Ascot on Dunaden agenda

The King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot is next on the agenda for Dunaden following his fine run in Saturday’s Hardwicke Stakes.

The King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot is next on the agenda for Dunaden following his fine run in Saturday’s Hardwicke Stakes.

Connections were keen to find out whether last year’s Melbourne Cup and Hong Kong Vase winner could be competitive at the highest level over a mile and a half in Europe and he upped his game to finish second to the talented Sea Moon.

The six-year-old and Christophe Lemaire may well have shaken up the winner had they not encountered serious traffic problems in the straight.

David Redvers, racing manager for owners Pearl Bloodstock, is looking forward to a return to Ascot on July 21.

“Initially I wondered what on earth had happened, but having sat down and watched the race in the cold light of day, I don’t think there was anything Christophe could have done. It was just bad luck,” said Redvers.

“I don’t think he could have done anything differently. He was badly hindered by Memphis Tennessee coming back into him and then to make matters worse, he got stopped on his second run.

“I’m not saying he’d have definitely won. I think it’s hard to argue a case that he wouldn’t have won and it’s hard to argue a case he would.

“We wanted to find out if he could match up with the best over a mile and a half and I think we found out categorically yesterday that he can.

“The King George remains his big target.”

Paddy Power report money for Dunaden in the ante-post market for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp in October, cutting him to 16-1 from 25-1.

Redvers is also racing manager for Qatar Racing and there were plenty of encouraging performances for horses that run under that banner at the Royal meeting.

Robert Cowell-trained four-year-old Spirit Quartz ran the race of his life to finish fifth in Tuesday’s King’s Stand Stakes.

“I was delighted with Spirit Quartz. He ran a fantastic race and he’s an improving horse,” said Redvers.

“Robert is doing a magnificent job with him and he’ll probably go for the King George Stakes at Goodwood next.

“After that, he could make up into a horse for the Prix de l’Abbaye.”

Qatar racing had two runners in the Norfolk Stakes, with Ahern and Cay Verde finishing fifth and sixth respectively.

The former ran a particularly eyecatching race on just his second racecourse appearance.

“Ahern was one of the real positives to come out of the week. Although he didn’t finish in the frame, I thought it was a hugely encouraging run,” said Redvers.

“He’s such an impressive horse both physically and temperament-wise. I hope there is a lot to look forward to with him.

“I’ll speak to David but he could run in something like the July Stakes at Newmarket.

“Things never really worked out for Cay Verde and Craig Williams felt he wasn’t effective on that ground,” said Redvers.

“I know he won on the ground before at Ascot, but we just think he’ll be a better horse on a sounder surface. He could go for the Molecomb Stakes at Goodwood – hopefully it stops raining.”

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