German raider triumphs in King George thriller

Have your say

Danedream was the toast of Germany after she outmuscled Nathaniel to claim an outstanding renewal of the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.

Despite odds of 9-1, Danedream was hardly an unknown quantity after smashing the record time in last year’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, but Peter Schiergen’s diminutive filly was required to prove herself again after a confusing recent performance in France.

Her accomplished rider, Andrasch Starke, described the last-ditch win as the finest moment of his career in what was a finish befitting of one of the strongest fields seen in the race in years.

Nathaniel, out again just a fortnight after his gritty triumph in the Coral-Eclipse, has established himself as a near-impossible obstacle to pass once in front, and jockey William Buick must have thought a remarkable double had been secured passing the one-furlong marker.

Starke was over a length behind once Danedream was loosened for her challenge and, in the heat of the moment, used the whip more times than was permissible in order to capture Nathaniel.

In gaining an advantage of a nose at the post, the jockey received a six-day ban (August 4-9).

Joseph O’Brien, who seemed to have given St Nicholas Abbey a considerable amount to do after sitting at the back of the field, managed to muster enough momentum to finish a length-and-a- half back in third, but was given a seven-day whip ban (August 4-10) and will miss the final day of Glorious Goodwood. Buick was also handed two days (August 5-6) for the same offence.

Schiergen said: “I thought we were second but now it’s better we are first.

“The last race there was no pace, but today there was a good pace.

“It’s very important for Germany and it’s very good for German racing.”

Looking ahead, Schiergen said: “If everything is all right, we’ll go to Baden-Baden (Grosser Preis Von Baden) next and after that we’ll go to the Arc.

“She will probably end her career in the Japan Cup.”

Trainer John Gosden was understandably proud of Nathaniel, who could renew rivalry with Danedream in the Arc at Longchamp in October.

He said: “Our horse has run his race quite brilliantly – I’m beyond thrilled. I’d love to come back here for the Champion Stakes and there is also the Arc as an option.”

Connections of Sea Moon offered no excuses for the 2-1 favourite, who closed from the rear for fifth.