Nathaniel Heading to the Arc
Inaugurated in 1951, the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes is a prestigious Grade 1 event that is hosted at Ascot Racecourse. It is a one mile and four furlong racing event, or 2 414 meters. Winners of this event traditionally move on to compete in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. This year the event was marred with tragedy, even though the victory secured for the very talented Nathaniel was a wonderful achievement for the horse and his connections. Many would describe this year’s event of the most unsuccessful they have witnessed in years.
It was said that the fiercest competition that Nathaniel would encounter during the event would come from horses such as St Nicholas Abbey, Workforce and Rewilding. Debussy was Rewilding's pacemaker, and he did an outstanding job of setting the pace for the event. As the field turned into the straight to head for home, tragedy struck. The right foreleg of Rewilding snapped underneath him as he began launching his attack, sending both him and his jockey, Frankie Dettori, to the ground. Unfortunately, Rewilding never got up again, as the injury cost him his life.
As the extremely close fight for first position continued between Workforce and Nathaniel, it seemed the horses did come in a little too close to each other, as after the race it was determined that Workforce did injure himself during the race, as a mark on his hind leg clearly indicates that he took an accidental hit.
John Gosden, trainer for both Nathaniel and Rewilding, assured the crowd, as he stood in the winner's circle, that Rewilding had suffered very little, if no pain, before being humanely put down. Even though Rewilding's tragedy did cast a dark cloud over events, Nathaniel did still deliver a superb performance, and is unlikely to participate in another event in preparation for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, which will take place on 2 October 2011 at the Longchamp Racecourse in Paris.
William Buik, Nathaniel's jockey, commented that he chose to rather let his horse run as he pleased, instead of holding back his headstrong mount. The strategy seemed to pay off, as Nathaniel just got stronger throughout the race. Now Nathaniel will be getting ready for the Arc, and it is hoped that he can repeat this remarkable performance.