William Buick is looking forward to continuing what has been a season to savour after picking up the spare ride on King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes favourite Crystal Ocean at Ascot on Saturday.
Ryan Moore, who has partnered the Sir Michael Stoute-trained four-year-old to victory in each of his three starts this season, is required to ride in the mile-and-a-half showpiece for Aidan O’Brien, meaning connections have turned to this year’s Derby-winning rider to partner the son of Sea The Stars.
The 30-year-old will get a feel for his mount, who claimed the Hardwicke Stakes over the course and distance last time out at the Royal meeting, when partnering him on the gallops in Newmarket this morning.
Buick, who won the King George in 2011 aboard Nathaniel, said: “It’s a great spare ride to pick up. He is a lovely horse, with a very nice profile.
“It was something that was spoken about last week. It is nice to get the call-up for the King George on a horse like this. He certainly looks to be very tough and genuine and an uncomplicated horse that gallops along very well in his races.
“It’s been a good season so far, but I’ve just got to keep going the next day and the next day after that. There is plenty of the season left and some nice horses still to ride.
It is nice to get the call-up for the King George on a horse like this. He certainly looks to be very tough and genuine and an uncomplicated horse that gallops along very well in his races.Jockey William Buick
“The King George is obviously a great race and is a midsummer highlight and it is nice to be included on a nice horse like Crystal Ocean.”
Newmarket handler Stoute is bidding for a record-breaking sixth King George victory and will also be represented by this year’s Prince of Wales’s Stakes winner Poet’s Word, who will once again be the mount of James Doyle.
His Ascot victim Cracksman, one of two possible runners for trainer John Gosden alongside Coronet, was one of 14 to stand their ground at yesterday’s confirmation stage.
O’Brien has five possibles, led by Grand Prix de Paris winner Kew Gardens, while Cliffs Of Moher, Hydrangea, Nelson and Rostropovich could also feature.
Sylvester Kirk’s Salouen went close to beating Cracksman in the Coronation Cup and ran a fine race to be third in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud behind Waldgeist, and could meet Andre Fabre’s charge at the weekend.
Mark Johnston’s Investec Derby runner-up Dee Ex Be still has the option, with the potential field completed by Desert Encounter (David Simcock) and Bateel (Francis-Henri Graffard).
Laurens is back in full training after a well-earned break and on course for the Darley Yorkshire Oaks at York.
Middleham trainer Karl Burke gave the Classic-winning filly three weeks off after her success in the French Oaks, otherwise known as the Prix de Diane, and is bringing her back for the Group One over a mile and a half on August 23 when she would take on older fillies.
“I watched her canter this morning [Monday]. She’s moving brilliant and she looks fantastic,” said Burke.
“She had a good, easy three weeks after the Prix de Diane. She put on 22 kilos during that time, but you wouldn’t know looking at her. She’s got such a big frame.
“She’s back in her full routine now and hopefully heading to the Yorkshire Oaks.”