Highland Reel out for Ascot revenge

Cox Plate placegetter Highland Reel could return to Ascot for the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes following his narrow defeat on the final day of the Royal meeting.

The four-year-old was beaten a head by Dartmouth in the Hardwicke Stakes on Saturday in what was his first European start since last September.

Highland Reel finished third to Winx in the Cox Plate before winning the Hong Kong Vase in December.

Trainer Aidan O’Brien believes better ground on July 23 at Ascot would suit Highland Reel better than the soft surface he encountered last week.


“We might aim him at the King George. He likes good ground and the race there should suit him,” O’Brien said.

The trainer will give Ascot Gold Cup winner Order Of St George a short break before the Irish St Leger in September.

“I’m going to give him a break now, and we’ll have a look at a trial before the Irish St Leger,” O’Brien said.

“It wouldn’t be fair on him to keep going now, especially if the ground is firm.

“He will be entered for the Melbourne Cup. (Owner) Lloyd Williams loves the race and is a major stakeholder in the horse. There is also the Arc if the ground is on the slow side.”

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