London (AFP) - Legendary trainer Michael Stoute won a record sixth King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes on Saturday with Poet's Word on the same track where a month ago he became the most successful ever trainer at Royal Ascot.
The 72-year-old Barbados-born handler -- whose first winner of the race was the tragic Shergar in 1981 -- was spoilt for choice as James Doyle, on Poet's Word, battled past his other runner, the 6/4 favourite Crystal Ocean, for a superb 1-2.
"Two wonderful brave athletes," said Stoute.
"My first reaction is sorry for the one that got beat."
In typical humble fashion Stoute -- who had said when he broke the Royal Ascot record that his great friend the late Henry Cecil had had less five-day meetings to set his original mark of 75 -- swept aside the import of his new benchmark.
"It took a long time didn't it!" he said.
Poet's Word -- who landed his owner Saeed Sulalil a winner's cheque of just over £700,000 ($917,000, 787,000 euros) -- gave Stoute his third Group One success of the season and the horse's second successive top grade victory, having laid low Cracksman in the Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Cracksman had not re-opposed in the King George as trainer John Gosden withdrew him on the morning of the race judging the ground not to have softened sufficiently for his stable ace to run.
Doyle rode a blinder having allowed his mount to hang out towards the back of the seven-runner field, tracking Gosden's lone runner Coronet whilst William Buick on Crystal Ocean was closer up behind the pacemaking duo of Salouen and Rostropovich.
Doyle, though, then swept round the outside as they hit the straight, and although he took a few seconds to move into full gear, then ate up the ground between him and his stablemate before finally getting the better of him inside the final furlong.
Buick sportingly shook his close friend Doyle's hand as they pulled up and also handled being wrongly announced as the winning jockey when they entered the unsaddling enclosure in good heart too.
For Doyle there was unconfined joy.
"You'll be doing well if there is a happier fellow today," he said.
"He is so versatile, I was a little worried following Coronet and I thought I had left him a bit of a task.
"Everything though about him is really smooth."
Smooth is not the adjective one would ascribe to the performances of the horses of another record-breaking trainer Aidan O'Brien at the moment.
His favoured runner in the King George, Hydrangea -- who had seemed to be free of a bug affecting O'Brien's yard -- never moved up a gear and instead went into reverse and finished last of the septet.