John Hammond has a unique cause to be interested in the outcome of the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.
The English-born, Chantilly-based mostly trainer saddled the great Montjeu to land the midsummer middle-distance championship in 2000.
A champion racehorse, Montjeu also enjoyed wonderful results as a stallion and is represented by St Nicholas Abbey, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Turf and two Coronation Cups, and 2011 St Leger victor Masked Marvel in the massive race.
Nonetheless, while expecting St Nicholas Abbey to run well for the Aidan O’Brien stable, Hammond is keen on the possibilities of Dunaden.
Last year’s Melbourne Cup and Hong Kong Vase hero is trained in France by Mikel Delzangles and looked an unlucky loser when runner-up to fellow King George rival Sea Moon in the Hardwicke Stakes more than the course and distance at the Royal meeting.
“It truly is a open contest and I thought Dunaden ran properly at Ascot,” explained Hammond.
“He got a bit too far behind in a race with a slow pace. He could move up from that off a good pace. He likes coming off a quick pace.
“I saw St Nicholas Abbey was drifting in the betting but I never know what that was about. It is an intriguing race.”
Ryan Moore, who rides Hardwicke Stakes winner Sea Moon for Sir Michael Stoute, also gives St Nicholas Abbey the utmost respect.
“It truly is a race with loads of power in depth,” said Moore.
“This yr you have acquired the Melbourne Cup winner, the Arc winner, Japanese Derby winner, St Nicholas Abbey, Nathaniel – it truly is a extremely sturdy race.
“St Nicholas Abbey has been really excellent this yr so far. Men and women had been fast to write him off, but he’s won four Group Ones and has proven the final couple of many years what a substantial-class horse he is.
“Sea Moon was extraordinary at Ascot, but he’s got to stage up a bit more to problems the favourites right here.”