Racing: Cecil wins Ascot argument: The failed Derby favourite will renew rivalry with his stablemate Commander In Chief tomorrow

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The Independent Online
PUNTERS were put in a predicament for tomorrow's King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes when Henry Cecil yesterday won his tenacious campaign to run Tenby in addition to the hot favourite, Commander in Chief.

Tenby was on offer at 7-1 yesterday while his stablemate remained at around 13-8. But Cecil's staunchly held view that the lesser-fancied colt must participate as well casts doubt over the disparity in odds.

Cecil trains both for their owner, Khalid Abdullah, who is known to dislike running two horses in the same race. Abdullah had been giving strong consideration in the last few days to switching Tenby from Ascot to the International Stakes on 17 August.

The York race is sponsored by his Juddmonte Stud and one national newspaper carried a headline yesterday saying that Tenby would definitely miss the King George.

A statement was issued yesterday afternoon, however, confirming that Tenby runs tomorrow. Willie Carson is booked for the ride, with Abdullah's retained jockey, Pat Eddery, expected to stick with Commander In Chief, winner of both the Epsom and Curragh Derbys.

Grant Pritchard-Gordon, racing manager for Abdullah, said: 'Next month's York race was the major consideration when we sat down to discuss our plans. But Henry advised us that Tenby was in top form and that he should take his chance at Ascot. It is still likely that Tenby will run at York as well.'

Pritchard-Gordon admitted Cecil was especially enthusiastic about Tenby's chances but said there had been no indication that Eddery would switch horses.

The Irishman rode Tenby in the Derby in June when the colt, an odds-on favourite then, could finish only 10th behind Commander In Chief, with Michael Kinane in the saddle. Eddery would need no reminding of the time that Steve Cauthen, then Sheikh Mohammed's retained rider, was on the wrong one of Cecil's pair in the 1990 King George. The Sheikh's Belmez, ridden by Kinane, beat Cauthen's chosen mount Old Vic into second place.

Wemyss Bight, the Irish Oaks winner who had been Abdullah's third entry for tomorrow's big race, was withdrawn yesterday.

Supporters of User Friendly, an 11-4 chance for the King George, could draw encouragement as Clive Brittain's stable emerged from an 18-day spell without a winner when Fuchu won at Yarmouth yesterday at odds of 33-1.

Yesterday's results, page 35