07/28/2007 12:00AM

Dylan Thomas wins with ease


Dylan Thomas sent his doubters scurrying for cover at Ascot on Saturday as he took advantage of a drying-out turf course to make off with the $1.5 million King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes by four widening lengths.

Running at 1 1/2 miles for the first time since having won the Irish Derby by 3 1/2 lengths 13 months ago, the Aidan O'Brien-trained 4-year-old son of Danehill had this Group 1 contest in his hip pocket throughout. Settled in fifth by Johnny Murtagh, he moved closer to stablemate Scorpion's pace approaching the 2 1/2-furlong stretch, burst into the lead at the three-sixteenths pole, then strode clear to leave 12-1 runner-up Youmzain floundering in his wake. Maraahel was another 3 1/2 lengths back in third with Laverock fourth. Scorpion, a two-time Group 1 winner who in effect was being sacrificed as a rabbit to ensure a decent pace for Dylan Thomas's late-running style, weakened to fifth, 11 lengths behind the winner as the 3-1 second choice.

Sent off as the 5-4 favorite, Dylan Thomas covered the 1 1/2 miles on a course labeled good to soft in 2:31.11. He had been available briefly at a price as long as 7-4 on Friday afternoon, but when the rain failed to materialize at Ascot, the money poured in. This was the fourth Group 1 success for Dylan Thomas, but with no 3-year-olds in the field for the second successive year, this was an obviously subpar King George. The race was being held for the first time since its inaugural running in 1951 without the sponsorship of DeBeers, the South African diamond mining company, and so has lost the "Diamond" portion of its elongated title.

Although Dylan Thomas had won the Irish Champion Stakes last September and the Prix Ganay in April, he had been just second in his last two starts at 10 furlongs in the Tattersalls Gold Cup and the Prince of Wales's Stakes.

His King George triumph, coupled with the ease of his Irish Derby victory, suggest that he is a superior force at 12 furlongs. O'Brien said that all of the big 1 1/4-mile and 1 1/2-mile races would be considered for him, but the world's premier 12-furlong event, the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp on Oct. 7, must surely be his major port of call.