07/25/2009 12:00AM

Conduit finds winning form at Ascot


Conduit led a one-two-three sweep for Michael Stoute in the $1.6 million King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on Saturday as he returned to the form that had won him the Breeders' Cup Turf nine months ago. Ending a two-race losing streak at 1 1/4 miles, the 4-year-old son of Dalakhani defeated stablemate Tartan Bearer by 1 3/4 lengths with Ask a head farther back in third. The first two were bred and owned by Ballymacoll Stud.

The step back up to 1 1/2 miles suited Conduit perfectly, as did the ground, officially labeled good, good to firm in places. Ryan Moore was content to keep Conduit, the 13-8 favorite, just behind Aidan O'Brien's leading trio of Rockhampton, Frozen Fire, and Golden Sword. At the quarter pole Team Stoute pounced and for a moment the three of them formed a phalanx across the track, but Conduit was always going best. He led approaching the furlong pole while getting home in 2:28.73, then survived a stewards' inquiry for having drifted in front of Tartan Bearer after having taken the lead.

Alwaary proved best of the 3-year-olds, finishing fourth, beaten four lengths, with Irish Derby runner-up Golden Sword fifth, four lengths farther back.

In victory Conduit was paying a huge compliment to Sea the Stars, who had beaten him 5 1/2 lengths into third in an Eclipse Stakes, whose 10 furlongs was just too short for a St. Leger winner. Stoute now has the pleasant problem of finding Arc prep races for Conduit, Tartan Bearer and Ask, with the Juddmonte International, Irish Champion Stakes, Grosser Preis von Baden, and Prix Foy being the four most logical choices.

Jealous Again's Royal Ascot form received another big boost when Lady of the Desert, only sixth behind the American filly in the Queen Mary Stakes, won the Group 3 Princess Margaret Stakes by 1 1/2 lengths earlier on the King George card. Ridden by Martin Dwyer, the Brian Meehan-trained Lady of the Desert covered the six furlongs in 1:14.95 as the 5-2 favorite.

At York, Tazeez's Arlington Million hopes went up in smoke as he could only manage sixth behind Kirklees in the Group 2, $164,000 York Stakes. Ridden by Frankie Dettori, Kirklees clocked a tepid 2:12.07 on good ground for the 1 1/4 miles, 88 yards in defeating Allied Powers by 1 1/4 lengths. Trainer Saeed bin Suroor will point Kirklees to the Juddmonte International Stakes over the York course and distance on Aug. 18, when he is expected to run into Sea the Stars.