Tragedy mars big Ascot race
William Buick kicked on early in the straight and landed the Group One midsummer showpiece, sponsored by Betfair, from Workforce, who veered violently left across the course. The John Gosden-trained colt (11-2) justified being supplemented for 75,000 in tremendous style, but the race was marred by the fall of Prince of Wales's Stakes winner Rewilding as he broke down over a furlong out. The Mahmood Al Zarooni-trained Rewilding broke a cannon-bone and had to be put down immediately. Dettori was helped back to the jockeys' room but did not appear to be badly hurt, reportedly suffering a bruised knee and stood down for the day.
Stan James gave Nathaniel a 10-1 from 25-1 quote for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. Gosden said: "I attended the horse (Rewilding) with the lad. He just put his leg down wrong and the cannon-bone snapped clean in two. The vet was on hand as we gave the horse a final munch of grass and he dealt with it immediately."
He added of Nathaniel: "It was an intelligent ride by William, and I left it completely up to him how to ride the race. He let him stride on, which was not ideal, but then again Workforce would have been better if they had gone a pace. This horse is getting better and better, and showed it today. My inclination is to take him straight for the Arc, with perhaps a racecourse gallop beforehand." Nathaniel has now won back-to-back races at Ascot, after being successful in the King Edward VII Stakes at the Royal meeting. Gosden said: "He won here well before and he loves this track. We've been lucky in that it's been a wet week and we've got the ground. To finish in front of a horse like Workforce is everything as he sets the standard."
Debussy had been expected to set the pace for Rewilding, but Ahmed Ajtebi slowed things down and Nathaniel was the surprise early leader. Godolphin's second string Debussy eventually went on over seven furlongs out, but when the race began in earnest it was Buick who was the first to commit and kicked on as they turned for home. As the race looked like living up its billing, Rewilding appeared to take a false step, throwing Dettori to the ground. Nathaniel made the best of his way home and although Workforce tried to get to the leader, last year's Derby hero was well held and was two-and three-quarter lengths down at the line.
St Nicholas Abbey ran a fine race to be third under 18-year-old Joseph O'Brien, with Debussy fourth. Buick said: "I would like to say how sorry I am for Rewilding and his connections. It's never nice to see that happen.My fellow jumped in front and Ahmed Ajtebi obviously didn't want to make the running so I let my horse stride along. It wasn't ideal, but eventually I did get a lead off him and then I took it up turning in and this horse is getting better and better. Today he showed how good he is."