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The King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot is next on the agenda for Melbourne Cup winner Dunaden following his fine effort in the Hardwicke Stakes.

Connections were keen to find out whether Dunaden could be competitive at the highest level over a mile-and-a-half (2400m) in Europe and he upped his game to finish second to the talented Sea Moon at Royal Ascot.

The six-year-old and Christophe Lemaire may well have shaken up the winner had they not encountered serious traffic problems in the straight.

David Redvers, racing manager for owners Pearl Bloodstock, is looking forward to a return to Ascot on July 21.

“Initially I wondered what on earth had happened, but having sat down and watched the race in the cold light of day, I don’t think there was anything Christophe could have done. It was just bad luck,” Redvers said.

“I don’t think he could have done anything differently. He was badly hindered by Memphis Tennessee coming back into him and then to make matters worse, he got stopped on his second run.

“I’m not saying he’d have definitely won. I think it’s hard to argue a case that he wouldn’t have won and it’s hard to argue a case he would.

“We wanted to find out if he could match up with the best over a mile-and-a-half and I think we found out categorically that he can.

“The King George remains his big target.”

Paddy Power report money for Dunaden in the pre-post market for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp in October, cutting him to 16-1 from 25-1.

Dunaden is the $16 TAB Sportsbet favourite for the Melbourne Cup despite the plans to run him in the Arc in preference to defending his title.

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