William Buick is looking forward to continuing what has been a season to savour after picking up the spare ride on King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes favourite Crystal Ocean at Ascot on Saturday.
With Ryan Moore – who has partnered the Sir Michael Stoute-trained four-year-old to victory in each of his three starts this season – required to ride in the mile-and-a-half showpiece for Aidan O’Brien, connections turned to this year’s Derby-winning rider to partner the son of Sea The Stars.
The 30-year-old will get a feel for his mount, who claimed the Hardwicke Stakes over the course and distance last time out at the Royal meeting, when partnering him on the gallops in Newmarket on Tuesday morning.
Buck, who won the King George in 2011 aboard Nathaniel, told Press Association Sport: “It’s a great spare ride to pick up. He is a lovely horse, with a very nice profile.
“It was something that was spoken about last week. It is nice to get the call-up for the King George on a horse like this.
“I’m riding him tomorrow morning on the gallops.”
He added: “He certainly looks to be very tough and genuine and an uncomplicated horse that gallops along very well in his races.
“It’s been a good season so far, but I’ve just got to keep going the next day and the next day after that. There is plenty of the season left and some nice horses still to ride.
“The King George is obviously a great race and is a midsummer highlight and it is nice to be included on a nice horse like Crystal Ocean. ”
Newmarket handler Stoute is bidding for a record-breaking sixth King George victory and will also be represented by this year’s Prince of Wales’s Stakes winner Poet’s Word, who will once again be the mount of James Doyle.
His Ascot victim Cracksman, one of two possible runners for trainer John Gosden alongside Coronet, was one of 14 to stand their ground at Monday’s confirmation stage.
O’Brien has five possibles, led by Grand Prix de Paris winner Kew Gardens, while Cliffs Of Moher, Hydrangea, Nelson and Rostropovich could also feature.
Sylvester Kirk’s Salouen went close to beating Cracksman in the Coronation Cup and ran a fine race to be third in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud behind Waldgeist, and could meet Andre Fabre’s charge at the weekend.
Kirk said: “Salouen is in great form at home and we are looking forward to running him at Ascot on Saturday.
“He has run some excellent races in defeat this term and I was pleased with his run at Saint-Cloud the last day. We were slightly disappointed as he was in front that day and was only beaten in the closing stages.
“Regarding the going, you would have to say that his best form has been when there has been some cut in the ground.
“However, he has run plenty of times on good to firm going. The ground is being watered and we’re hopeful of a good run on Saturday.”
Mark Johnston’s Investec Derby runner-up Dee Ex Be still has the option, with the potential field completed by Desert Encounter (David Simcock) and Bateel (Francis-Henri Graffard)