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Ante-Post Update – Novellist 5-1 for the Arc after record-breaking run

Novellist produced a stunning display at Ascot on Saturday to win the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. He shaved two seconds off the track record as he left Irish Derby winner Trading Leather trailing in his wake.

Johnny Murtagh is riding on the crest of a wave at the moment and came in for the ride at the last moment. He was full of praise for Novellist and hopes to continue his association with the German-trained horse in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

The disappointment of the race was 6-4 favourite Cirrus Des Aigles who found disappointingly little when let down in the straight. Trainer Corine Barande-Barbe was not too downhearted, expressing the view that he may still have needed the race and that the ground was too quick for him.

Cirrus Des Aigles could now go for the Juddmonte International at York but his end of season target is the Champion Stakes in October. He could face a rematch with runner-up Trading Leather who raced a little too keenly but still ran a creditable race for Jim Bolger.

Bolger did sound a warning for those opposing Dawn Approach in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood this week by declaring him to be in “awesome” form. The supplemented Hillstar ran a good race in third but no definite plans have been made for him as yet.

Paul Hanagan’s decision to go to York to partner Mukhadram rather than ride Ektihaam at Ascot paid off handsomely with victory in the Group 2 York Stakes. As in his previous races this season, he was sent off in front and had enough in reserve to repel the late challenge of Grandeur.

His victory may not have been overly impressive but he is another heading back to York for the International Stakes and will be hard to beat.

The other big market mover of the weekend was Tropics who won the York Dash for Ken Ivory. He has been slashed to 8-1 clear favourite for the Stewards’ Cup, although no definite decision on his participation will be made until later in the week.