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Secret State secures King George V prize

Appleby and Buick unearth potential Leger contender.

Image: PA

SECRET STATE GRIMLY held off the late thrust of Deauville Legend to win the King George V Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Always fairly handy behind the pace set by Frankie Dettori on Franz Strauss, William Buick got a dream run up the rail on Charlie Appleby’s lightly-raced three-year-old.

Sent off the 4-1 joint-favourite, the colt by Dubawi out of Jacqueline Quest, who lost the 2010 running of the 1000 Guineas in the stewards’ room, had won at Chester and Nottingham already this season.

In truth he looked a sitting duck inside the last half a furlong as both Israr and then close home Deauville Legend threw down stern challenges. However, Secret State held off the latter by a head and was introduced by Betfair into the St Leger market at 14-1.

“We were keen to get out and get a nice pitch, it’s one of those races that can be hard work if you’re in the second half of the field so our plan was always to be in the first half,” Appleby said. “William got him out, got him in a good pitch.

“The pace was steady enough so you know you had to be in the right position when they started quickening. He got that first run on them and the one thing I was always confident of was that this horse will always find.

“He’s done it on every occasion and today, we’re very pleased and he’s a horse with a profile that’s going the right way.

“We’d be bold enough to say we might work into something like a (Great) Voltigeur (at York), we’d be stepping from handicaps into Pattern company there but he’s done little wrong.”

Magical Lagoon stayed straight and true to win the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot, taking advantage of a late drift close home by Sea Silk Road.

It appeared as if Tom Marquand had done everything right on Sea Silk Road (15-8 favourite) as William Haggas’ filly hit the front inside the final furlong.

However, the Jessica Harrington-trained Magical Lagoon (11-4) dug very deep for Shane Foley and ended up winning going away by half a length.

“Magical Lagoon dug really deep and she stays very well – that is the great thing with her,” said Harrington, who was enjoying a third victory at the big meeting.

“The race worked out great, she got a lead and then she was able to come upsides William Haggas’ horse who headed her and then she battled back.

“She’s a lovely filly, very straightforward, very easy to train, she’s a lovely relaxed horse.

“It’s absolutely fantastic to get another one (Royal Ascot winner), they always mean a lot.”

Looking forward she said: “She loves that quick ground – she really enjoys it.

“The plan was to come here and then go to the Irish Oaks – all being well, that’s the plan. She’s a proper mile-and-a-half filly.”

It was a first Royal Ascot winner for Foley, who said: “I’ve been coming here for a long time now. I have knocked on the door with a couple of seconds and it is the place you want to be riding. However, when you are not winning, it is not the place you want to be.

“I’m just so grateful to everybody and I said to my wife earlier this week that if I was to have a Royal Ascot winner, it would be this week.”

Meanwhile, Sean Woods feels Savvy Victory should not be overlooked in Friday’s King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot.

The Newmarket trainer insists things have not fallen right in the New Bay colt’s campaign thus far, and hopes he will restore his reputation when he takes on five rivals in the Group Two event, run over a mile and a half.

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Savvy Victory has been beaten by both the Aidan O’Brein-trained Changingoftheguard and Charlie Appleby’s Ottoman Fleet in the Chester Vase and in the Listed Fairway Stakes at Newmarket respectively on his last two runs.

But Woods feels he has had his excuses since winning a 10-furlong Pontefract maiden on his first start this term.

“He is a very, very good horse and things haven’t gone quite right in the two trials,” said Woods.

Elsewhere, Kyprios held off Mojo Star and Stradivarius to claim the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot for Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore.

Having gone a slow pace there were plenty in with chances turning into the straight, as the mare Princess Zoe just about hit the front a furlong out looking to go one better than 12 months ago.

She was soon headed by Kyprios, but Mojo Star, second in the Derby and St Leger last year, and eventually Stradivarius having had to be switched for a run, threw down their challenge.

But it was not to be, as the 13-8 favourite held on for a famous win by half a length with another three-quarters of a length back to Frankie Dettori and Stradivarius, who was bidding to join the O’Brien-trained Yeats as a four-time winner.

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