sport

Arc heroine on track for Ascot

Arc de Triomphe winner Danedream will have her first start in England when she contests the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.

The Betfair-sponsored showpiece looks like being a very strong renewal with dual Coronation Cup winner St Nicholas Abbey, last year's winner and Eclipse hero Nathaniel and Melbourne Cup hero Dunaden all among 12 possibles.

Following her victory in the Arc, the Peter Schiergen-trained Danedream finished sixth in the Japan Cup but returned with an easy win at Baden-Baden in May.

She then travelled back to France for the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud but could only manage fourth to Meandre.

Schiergen believes there were excuses that day and expects a bold display this weekend.

"We are coming over to Ascot for Saturday," said Schiergen.

"Nothing went right for her at Saint-Cloud, they went very slow early on and that didn't suit.

"She prefers a strong gallop and that is usually what you get in England.

"Everything has gone well since her last race.

"Soft ground would not bother her at all, she handles it very well indeed so if it was very soft that would not change anything."

John Gosden has left in Nathaniel, who won the Eclipse just two weeks ago, and he will be looking for back-to-back King George wins. Gosden could also run last year's St Leger winner Masked Marvel.

St Nicholas Abbey has been ante-post favourite for some time on the back of his impressive display at Epsom. Stablemates Windsor Palace and Robin Hood could help make the pace.

Dunaden will be reunited with Australian jockey Craig Williams, who partnered him to victory in the Geelong Cup and the Hong Kong Vase.

"Basically, Sheikh Fahad (owner) decided that whoever was to ride the horse in the Arc was to ride him in all his races between now and then, which almost definitely ruled out Christophe (Lemaire)," racing manager David Redvers told At The Races.

"Craig has won his only two starts on the horse, he knows him well and was prepared to make the sacrifice and commitment to come all the way from Australia to ride the horse whenever he ran.

"He rode Ortensia at Royal Ascot and Cay Verde for us. He spent a lot of time with Mick Channon and knows the tracks well.

"Craig is an extraordinary jockey. He's a little bit like a Flat equivalent of AP (McCoy) in that I expect he makes an incredibly boring husband as he comes home and pours over videos after videos."

Reliable Man is another interesting contender from France after his fast-finishing fourth in the Prince of Wales's Stakes while his Alain de Royer-Dupre stablemate Shareta is another still engaged.

Sea Moon, such an impressive winner of the Hardwicke, will aim to follow in the footsteps of his former stablemate Harbinger for Sir Michael Stoute.

Tom Dascombe's Brown Panther is an intended runner for Michael Owen while the Japanese challenger Deep Brillante, winner of the Japanese Derby, is another fascinating contender.