King George Stakes: Highland Reel win, the Queen's Dartmouth comes third

Highland Reel
Highland Reel was never headed as jockey Ryan Moore controlled the race from the front

Highland Reel produced a front-running masterclass to win the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.

The 13-8 favourite held off a spirited challenge from Dante Stakes winner Wings of Desire to win by a length.

Irish trainer Aidan O'Brien, who celebrated his fourth King George victory, said: "He's a wonderful horse who is getting better."

The Queen's colt Dartmouth failed to record a fourth successive win this season finishing third.

There had been high hopes that the early favourite in the betting would have been a first royal winner in the Group One race since Aureole in 1954.

Dartmouth (9-2) was added to the £1.15m race as a late entry on Monday at a cost of £75,000.

Highland Reel, ridden by Ryan Moore, opened up a clear lead in the mile-and-a-half contest, racing down the back straight before taking a breather, which allowed the chasing pack to bridge the gap.

The four-year-old remained in front turning for home, however, and answered Moore's every call to score by a length-and-a-quarter from Frankie Dettori's Wings Of Desire (4-1).

Moore said: "He's a very good horse and won in America and Hong Kong.

"It's a marvellous achievement from Aidan to get him back in this shape to win this sort of race.

"He's a very strong horse. He's very professional - he knows how to race."

Analysis

Cornelius Lysaght, BBC horse racing correspondent

"Ryan Moore was in command from the start. From the front, the three-time champion jockey slowed down the pace when he wanted to and later increased the tempo again, just as he wanted.

"That said, Highland Reel was a highly willing partner. Relishing the much drier conditions, he turned the tables on Dartmouth, who had been his head conqueror at Royal Ascot a month previously on good to soft ground.

"Dartmouth kept on well after looking likely to struggle and is likely to go globe-trotting now with American, Australian and Japanese targets all being mentioned."

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