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Stoute team discuss plans for Royal Ascot stars

Jonathan Vine 29 Jun 2018
Poet's Word (right) powers to victory over Cracksman (left) in the Prince Of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Sir Michael Stoute and his team are busy finalising plans for Poet’s Word and Crystal Ocean after their tremendous victories at Royal Ascot.

With the spotlight fixed firmly on the seemingly unbeatable Cracksman, Poet’s Word was largely ignored in the build-up to the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot. The doubts about whether Cracksman would enjoy the firm ground eventually played out on the track and Sir Michael Stoute’s charge was on hand to lower the favourite’s colours and claim a maiden Group One.

While Poet’s Word’s win would have come as a surprise to even Stoute himself, Crystal Ocean’s Hardwicke Stakes success went precisely as predicted. Idaho went off fast, giving Ryan Moore something to aim at. Ascot’s top jockey ushered the favourite to the front and Crystal Ocean cruised clear under a hands-and-heels ride.

That performance capped an excellent week for Stoute, who surpassed Sir Henry Cecil’s tally of 75 winners to become the winning-most trainer in Royal Ascot history. While the knight of the realm refused to talk about future plans in the immediate aftermath of the Festival, Bruce Raymond – manager to Poet’s Word’s owner Saeed Suhail – told Sky Sports that he and Sir Michael are close to finalising plans for his stable stars.

"I don't think he (Poet’s Word) will go for the Eclipse.” Raymond said to the press on Thursday. “He could go for the King George, but Sir Michael also has Crystal Ocean and there wouldn't be a lot between them." 

"A good race for Poet's Word would be the Juddmonte International at York, which I think he'll go for. Whether he'll run before that, I don't know."

"Sir Michael usually makes the right judgement in these things. I'm sure that horse will go for the King George. Whether Poet's Word does or not, it's up to Sir Michael.”

Crystal Ocean bounds clear when winning The Hardwicke Stakes.


Sir Michael Stoute saddled the winner of the Coral-Eclipse and the Juddmonte International Stakes last season, with Ulysses teaching his younger rivals a thing or two in both of those historic Group Ones. As Poet’s Word’s price in the Eclipse drifted, the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes winner jumped ahead of Enable at the head of the Juddmonte International Stakes betting, with Betfair quoting a fresh price of 4/1.

Crystal Ocean comfortably heads the betting for the King George, with Betfair quoting odds of 5/2, ahead of 10/3 second-favourite Cracksman. Poet’s Word remains a prominent figure in the King George betting, sitting just behind third-favourite Masar and on the same price of 7/1 as Guineas winner Saxon Warrior.

Ulysses took in all three Group Ones last season, with his runner-up finish to Enable in the King George sandwiched between those stunning victories in the Eclipse and the Juddmonte International. With two golden arrows to fire at each prize, it’s unlikely either Poet’s Word or Crystal Ocean will bid for the Group One treble, but one thing is for sure, Sir Michael Stoute looks like he’ll have a strong hand to play in the big middle-distance races this summer.

*Current betting markets with Betfair*

7/7/18 Coral-Eclipse (Sandown)
7/4 Masar, 5/2 Roaring Lion, 8/1 Poet’s Word, 12/1 Gustav Klimt, 14/1 Saxon Warrior, Without Parole, Cliffs Of Moher, Cracksman, 16/1 Bar

28/7/18 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Ascot)
5/2 Crystal Ocean, 10/3 Cracksman, 13/2 Masar, 7/1 Poet’s Word, Saxon Warrior, 10/1 Waldgeist, 14/1 Coronet, 16/1 Bar

24/8/18 Juddmonte International Stakes (York)
4/1 Poet’s Word, 5/1 Masar, 6/1 Enable, Roaring Lion, 8/1 Saxon Warrior, Cracksman, 10/1 Benbatl, 12/1 Crystal Ocean, 12/1 Thunder Snow, Without Parole, 14/1 Rhododendron, Hunting Horn, 16/1 Bar

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Stoute team discuss plans for Royal Ascot stars

Sir Michael Stoute and his team are busy finalising plans for Poet’s Word and Crystal Ocean on Thursday 28th June after their tremendous victories at Royal Ascot.

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