07/27/2002 12:00AM

Golan outduels Nayef in King George

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Golan, whose owner, Lord Weinstock, died just four days before the race, narrowly got the better of a great duel with Nayef in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes at Ascot.

Nayef took over from the front-running favorite, Granders, with under quarter of a mile to run. Golan (5-1), brought from the rear by jockey Kieren Fallon, mounted a fierce challenge in the closing stages.

Nayef battled gamely but failed by a head, 3 1/2 lengths clear of Zindabad, with the French filly, Aquarelliste, two lengths farther back in fourth. The winning time for the 1 1/2 miles was 2:29.70.

Golan is a 4-year-old Irish-bred trained by Sir Michael Stoute.

Marcus Tregoning, trainer of Nayef, said that the Breeders' Cup Turf was on the agenda after this performance. "I am very keen to go to Chicago for the Breeders' Cup as the track will suit him."

Three runners - Sakhee, Millenary, and High Pitched - were scratched just hours before the start because their connections thought the "good to firm" turf too unforgiving.