Exactly 10 years after Galileo lit up Ascot with his King George VI & Queen Elizabeth victory, his son Nathaniel (3c Galileo-Magnificient Style, by Silver Hawk) repeated the feat.
A runaway winner of the G2 King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot on his previous start, Nathaniel was supplemented for the King George at a cost of £75,000 and it proved to be money well-spent.
There proved little pace in the mile and a half showpiece and jockey William Buick was forced to take the lead as the runners turned for home, holding on to beat last year’s Derby and Arc hero Workforce by two and three-quarter lengths.
“To finish in front of a horse like Workforce is everything. He sets the standard – he is an Arc winner, a Derby winner and a phenomenal horse.
“I think Nathaniel will go straight to the G1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe now and maybe just have a racecourse gallop somewhere in between. With a bit of luck we will meet Workforce again at Longchamp. Unfortunately we have to supplement again because he hadn’t even broken his maiden when they shut the Arc. It will be wonderful if we can meet again in Paris in October.
“As a three-year-old we get a weight concession and we made that play in the last furlong with Workforce. It was a very good result for the three-year-olds. It was a bit more like a mile and a quarter race today but that didn’t suit us either
“William is a very talented young man. It was a difficult race to gauge because Debussy was not making a true pace and William had to go on – his horse was fighting – and he showed a lot of tactical nous. I told him to ride the race as he found it. He had no instructions because with a five horse race, you must ride it the way it comes up and not be held down by orders.”
Gosden revealed that the horse was nearly not supplemented after an accident on Monday. “He was so full of himself that he jumped up and ripped a hind shoe off. I called the farrier while myself and my assistant Barry held his leg up. The vet bandaged him and then my farrier plugged the whole and put a racing plate on, which he wore today. I rang Nat Rothschild, after whom the horse is named, and said we could stop if he didn’t want to supplement but he said to go ahead. He only went into the race at five minutes before midday.
“We didn’t go to the G1 Grand Prix de Paris last week because the ground had dried up and I think the Arc will be his only other race this year. He’ll be an exciting horse next season.”
William Buick was winning the race a day after his 23rd birthday and said: “My fellow jumped in front – Ahmed Ajtebi (on Debussy) obviously didn’t really intend to make the running so I let my horse stride along. It wasn’t really ideal and I was happy when I got a lead off Ahmed. I didn’t want to be where I was and had to take it up a long way out. The best part of the race is usually the last for this horse.
“This horse is getting better and better. Today he showed how good he is – I always knew that he was a very good horse but I didn’t know that he was going to be this good this soon.
“The boss and the owners supplemented him for a lot of money and that was not for no reason. He was never going to be far away. I could see Workforce in the corner of my eye and you’ve got to have a lot of respect for a horse like Workforce. I could see him drifting further away from me and I was going with him but Nathaniel was never stopping and he galloped all the way to the line.
“This means everything and it is fantastic. I can remember when I came racing with my dad before I was riding to watch the King George the year Golan won. Now I am here winning the race, it is just a dream come true.”
The blue-blooded Nathaniel is a sibling to the black-type performers Changing Skies, Echoes In Eternity, Percussionist, Petara Bay and Playful Act.