Nathaniel confirmed for Ascot
John Gosden has given Nathaniel the go-ahead to attempt back-to-back victories in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.
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Connections of last year's winner have been receiving the right vibes from the horse to pitch him into battle just two weeks after he made a successful first appearance of the season in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown.
"As of this morning, he's a runner," said the Newmarket trainer.
"William (Buick) breezed him this morning and I think it went really well - William was delighted.
"I expect the ground to be on the easy side, not heavy, and I think it would be wimpish not to run."
Buick admits Nathaniel faces a tough task in attempting to emulate Dahlia (1973-74) and Swain (1997-98) as only the third dual winner of the King George, which is now sponsored by Betfair.
The four-year-old made a belated seasonal debut in the 10-furlong Eclipse and had to dig deep to overcome Farhh by half a length.
There is normally three weeks between the two midsummer features, but this year the fixture list is squeezed due to the Olympic Games.
Even so, Buick says all the signs are good ahead of the mile-and-a-half Group One.
"That (Sandown) was probably his best performance to date," the jockey told At The Races.
"He needed the run and went and got the job done. You're there to win the race and he really battled on well for me. He answered every call.
"He's a very tough horse. The boss (Gosden) is happy the way he's come out of the race, but I suppose it's a tough ask two weeks from a race like that.
"It's a big ask for the horse, all signs are good so far, but I suppose you don't know until the actual day.
Nathaniel is a 5-2 chance for the King George with Sky Bet.