06/18/2004 11:00PM

Doyen breaks record in Hardwicke Stakes


Doyen brought the 2004 Royal Ascot meeting to a memorable close Saturday, trimming better than four-tenths of a second off the 21-year-old course record in winning the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes by six lengths.

Doyen, who began his career in France with trainer Andre Fabre before transferring to the Godolphin operation, swept to the front at the quarter-mile pole and sprinted clear, timed in 2:26.53 for 1 1/2 miles on firm turf.

"He's a special horse and reminds me very much of horses like Swain and Daylami," said Doyen's rider, Frankie Dettori. "He went to them very easily and then just took off."

Doyen was sired by Sadler's Wells.

"He has improved a lot since his first run of the season," said Doyen's owner-breeder Sheikh Mohammed. "And the King George has always been the target."

Run over the same Royal Ascot course and distance on July 24, the King George is Europe's mid-summer, all-aged championship race.

Dettori won the Ascot riding title with six winners in the five day-meet.

The final Group 1 race of the meeting, the Golden Jubilee Stakes at six furlongs, had a truly international finish. Fayr Jag, trained in Yorkshire by Tim Easterby and ridden by Willie Supple, held off the late thrust of French invader Crystal Castle to win by a head at 12-1. The Hong Kong-trained Cape of Good Hope was another head back in third. An Irish-bred son of Fayruz, Fayr Jag covered the six furlongs on a straight course in 1:13.35.

Cape of Good Hope was running for the second time at the meeting, having finished runner-up in Group 2 company on Tuesday. The second and third finishers bumped each other at a crucial stage passing the three-eighths pole, which might have hurt both of them a little.