07/27/2013 2:02PM

Ascot: Novellist sets course record in King George VI Queen Elizabeth Stakes


Novellist set a course record for 1 1/2 miles at Ascot with a career-defining win in Saturday’s $1,629,450 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

The Group 1 win gave Novellist an automatic berth to the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita in November through the Win and You’re program, although trainer Andreas Wohler said after the race that Prix de l’ Arc de Triomphe in Paris on Oct. 7 is the main goal for the autumn.

Novellist (13-2) was timed in 2:24.60, finishing five lengths clear of Trading Leather, the winner of the Irish Derby earlier this summer. Hillstar, another 3-year-old and a winner at Royal Ascot last month, finished third in the field of eight. Cirrus des Aigles, the 3-2 favorite, finished fourth.

Novellist, ridden by Johnny Murtagh, was fourth early, stalking paceser Ektihaam and Universal. Novellist moved closer to the front with three furlongs remaining and took the lead a quarter-mile from the finish.

“The hardest thing for Johnny was pulling the horse up after the race,” Wohler said. “We couldn’t have said beforehand that he would have won that easily.”

The previous course record time of 2:26.78 was set by Harbinger in the 2010 King George.

A 4-year-old Irish-bred colt by Monsun owned by Christoph Berglar, Novellist will have a prep for the Arc in the Grosser Preis von Baden in Germany on Sept. 1, or the Prix Foy at Longchamp on Sept. 15. The King George was Novellist’s second consecutive Group 1 win, preceded by the Grand Prix de Saint Cloud in France on June 23.

Mukhadram all the way

Mukhadram, second to Al Kazeem in two major stakes earlier this summer, won his second stakes of 2013 in Saturday’s $153,000 York Stakes over about 1 1/4 miles at York Racecourse.

The 4-9 favorite, Mukhadram led throughout under jockey Paul Hanagan, winning by three-quarters of a length over Grandeur, the winner of the Twilight Derby at Santa Anita and the Hollywood Turf Cup last fall.

Mukhadram was a Group 3 winner in May and finished behind Al Kazeem in two Group 1 races earlier this summer – a second in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 19, and a third in the Coral Eclipse Stakes on July 6.

◗ Producer and Red Jazz, the first two finishers of the Group 3 Criterion Stakes at Newmarket on June 29, are among the nominees for Tuesday’s $230,550 Lennox Stakes on the first of five days of the prestigious Glorious Goodwood meeting. The Group 2 Lennox Stakes is run over seven furlongs.