Stoute aiming for King George with duo

Sir Michael Stoute is confident either Crystal Ocean or Poet’s Word can land the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.

Having become the most successful trainer at the Royal meeting last month, the Newmarket trainer is looking at a record-breaking sixth success in the mile-and-a-half prize he has won before with the likes of Shergar and Harbinger.

Both Crystal Ocean and Poet’s Word were successful at the Royal fixture, with the former winning the Hardwicke Stakes and the latter shocking Cracksman in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes.

Stoute said: “They both seem in good shape and their preparation has gone well. They seem in good form. Touch wood, we are happy at this stage.

“Crystal Ocean is from a very good family. They are good, honest horses. I’ve not seen the final field yet, but he is entitled to take his chance for sure.

“Poet’s Word has been recording high levels of form and seems versatile over 10 or 12 furlongs.

“His preparation has gone well and again he has won at the track.”

Kew Gardens will spearheading Aidan O’Brien’s team as they look for a fifth victory.

O’Brien said: “I was delighted at Ascot and we were delighted with his run back at Longchamp.

“We were very happy with him before the Derby. That was a little bit of a blip for us and we felt that wasn’t his true running.

“When he went to Ascot we always thought he would stay. He is a progressive horse and physically he is doing well and he seems to be stepping up with every run.

“We had our eye on the King George for a long time, as he is a horse that likes fast ground.”

John Gosden remains on weather-watch for Cracksman, and is downbeat about the prospect of him running.

He told At The Races: “Cracksman will be looking for thunderstorms, which seem extremely unlikely.”

Coronet, who came within a nose of claiming her first Group One success in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud at the start of the month, is a more likely runner, but Gosden feels she needs to raise her game to topple the Stoute pair.

He said: “Coronet is in good form and she ran great at Saint-Cloud, so she’s a possibility for the race at this stage.

“She’s got a bit to find with Hardwicke winners and Prince of Wales’s Stakes winners, that’s for sure. They set the standard in the race and I’m sure the market will reflect that.”

Bookmakers make Crystal Ocean and Poet’s Word firm favourites to take the title ahead of Kew Gardens.

“Sir Michael Stoute’s Royal Ascot winners set the standard for Saturday’s race, with Crystal Ocean heading the market following his course and distance success last month, while Kew Gardens is the leading 3-y-o after his recent Group One victory in France,” said Coral’s David Stevens.

Coral also make Gosden odds-on for the Flat Trainers’ title.

“Six weeks ago Aidan O’Brien was 1-3 for the title, with John Gosden 9-4 second favourite, but with Stradivarius and Without Parole among the stars the latter can call upon for richly-endowed Group Ones at Goodwood next week, and the likes of Roaring Lion, Enable and Cracksman in his stable as well, he is now odds-on to regain the crown he last held three years ago,” said Stevens.

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