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Page last updated at 15:33 GMT, Saturday, 26 July 2008 16:33 UK

Marmalade secures King George win

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Duke of Marmalade has been in superb form this season

Aidan O'Brien-trained Duke of Marmalade held off Papal Bull's challenge to win the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes by a half length at Ascot.

The pre-race favourite hit the front under Johnny Murtagh down the straight.

However, Papal Bull took the lead with the finish line in sight, only for Duke of Marmalade to respond and get home.

The superb victory - the third fastest King George win in history - marks Coolmore handler O'Brien's 14th Group One win of the season.

It was also 6-4 favourite Duke of Marmalade's fourth successive Group One success this term and the four-year-old colt's win was even more impressive considering it was his first run over a mile-and-a-half.

"I quickened up very well and was surprised to see another horse come with me," Murtagh said. "But my horse has got the qualities of being a great horse - he's a great battler and has a great will to win.

"The race worked out very well for me and to go nine lengths clear of the third (Youmzain) tells you what this horse is capable of.

This is marvellous and I'm delighted for everybody

Aidan O'Brien

"This is another huge win for me and for the team. He's one of my favourites, and one of the best I've ever ridden. He's a true champion."

O'Brien was glad Papal Bull put up such a strong challenge, saying it gave the Duke of Marmalade the impetus to maintain his charge over the longer distance.

"This is marvellous and I'm delighted for everybody," he said. "When he goes to the front he's lazy and Johnny gave him a marvellous ride.

"Johnny hadn't planned on taking it up as early as he did, so he was ready for another horse to come to him.

"It's very unusual for a horse to show the class and determination he has at a mile to go and do the same over a mile and a half."

"We will discuss plans this week at home but I would prefer to drop him back to a mile and quarter for races like the Juddmonte International."

Despite O'Brien's comments, Marmalade was trimmed across the bookmakers' boards for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

The Mick Channon-trained Youmzain came third and Red Rock Canyon fourth.

606: DEBATE
TB

Meanwhile, 18-1 Laa Rayb came home in the Totesport International Stakes after favourite Lovelace was withdrawn not under orders before the race.

The horse appeared distressed and sweaty as it refused to go into the stalls.

However, owner Mark Johnston gained sweet compensation as second-string Laa Rayb strode home in the seven-furlong cavalry charge, holding off Dhaular Dhar comfortably by a length and a quarter.

Giganticus and Excusez Moi finished third and fourth respectively.

Jockey Royston Ffrench said: "I was always confident I was travelling ever so well and he did it well in the end. He's a typical Mark Johnston horse - very, very tough.

"There's no reason he cannot go on to better things with the turn of foot he showed there."


see also
Cornelius Lysaght column
23 Jul 08 |  Horse Racing
Murtagh rides Duke to Ascot glory
18 Jun 08 |  Horse Racing
Horse racing on the BBC
14 Mar 08 |  Horse Racing
Quiz the racing team
29 Mar 07 |  Horse Racing


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