Sir Michael Stoute is set to launch a twin attack on this month’s King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.
The Newmarket handler has won the race a record-equalling five times and will bid to break new ground on July 28.
Stoute has saddled five previous winners of the King George in Shergar (1981), Opera House (1993), Golan (2002), Conduit (2009) and Harbinger (2010).
His feats are matched by trainers Dick Hern and Saeed bin Suroor. The Newmarket training great appears to hold strong claims of adding to his tally this time around with Crystal Ocean and Poet’s Word both fancied.
They were both winners at Royal Ascot last month, Crystal Ocean scoring over the King George course and distance in the Hardwicke Stakes and Poet’s Word, taking the notable scalp of Cracksman in landing the Group One Prince Of Wales’s Stakes.
Those wins would suggest both are leading contenders for the King George but, before now, Stoute had given no indication he would allow them to draw swords on each other.
“They are both fine at the moment. They are being trained for the King George and the plan is to go to Ascot with both horses,” Stoute suggested.
Last season’s St Leger second Crystal Ocean has been strong in betting since his Ascot win last month, while stablemate Poet’s Word could be his chief rival as it appears more than likely Prince Of Wales’s Stakes second Cracksman will skip the race and wait for a late summer/early autumn campaign.