07/25/2003 11:00PM

Alamshar impressive winner in King George


Alamshar scored one of the most impressive victories in the 53-year history of the $1.2 million King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes at Ascot on Saturday, when he powered to a 3 1/2-length victory over Sulamani.

Sent off at 13-2, Alamshar went clear at the quarter pole under Johnny Murtagh after having tracked the pacesetting longshot Izdiham. Sulamani, the Godolphin Racing-owned third choice at 9-2, gave chase but could not catch Alamshar, who covered the 1 1/2 miles in 2:33.26 on a course listed as good, good-to-soft in places.

That type of ground was supposed to play into Sulamani's hands while working against Alamshar, who has improved by leaps and bounds since finishing third behind Kris Kin in the Epsom Derby on June 7. Most recently, he won the Irish Derby. An Irish-bred son of Key of Luck, Alamshar had the 7-2 Kris Kin back in third, two lengths behind Sulamani, with last year's St. Leger winner, Bollin Eric, fourth.

It was not just the margin of Alamshar's victory that impressed, but the quality of the horses he was thrashing. Nine of his 11 rivals had won a total of 19 Group 1 races, among them Falbrav, a five-time Group 1 winner. Falbrav raced strangely wide under Darryll Holland and came home a spent force in fifth.

Nayef, the 3-1 favorite, raced in third to the stretch before tiring to finish seventh, beaten 11 lengths.

Afterward, the winning owner, the Aga Khan, suggested that he might keep Alamshar and his French Derby winner, Dalakhani, apart for the remainder of the year. Dalakhani, who was a half-length second to Alamshar in the Irish Derby, will be aimed at the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe on Oct. 5 while trainer John Oxx said that the 1 1/4-mile Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on Sept. 6 could be next for Alamshar.

Godolphin, meanwhile, will point Sulamani to the Arc, the race in which he finished second last year. The Breeders' Cup Turf, however, has been the late-season intention for Sulamani since he won the Dubai Sheema Classic in March.