Poet's Word gave Michael Stoute a record-breaking sixth success in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes when he just denied his stablemate Crystal Ocean in an epic finish to the midsummer feature at Ascot.
Winner of the Prince of Wales's Stakes over 10 furlongs at Royal Ascot, Poet's Word (7-4) edged in front in the last 100 yards under James Doyle, after 6-4 favourite Crystal Ocean had set sail for home in the straight.
Rostropovich and Salouen had set a strong pace from the outset, but Desert Encounter lost several lengths at the start.
Doyle had Poet's Word at the back of the field and had plenty to do as Crystal Ocean, ridden by William Buick, was seemingly in a better position heading to the business end of the race.
Hardwicke Stakes hero Crystal Ocean went on, but Poet's Word gave chase and nailed him close to the line to win by a neck. Coronet was third, another nine lengths away from the Stoute pair.
Poet's Word joins Shergar (1981), Opera House (1993), Golan (2002), Conduit (2009) and Harbinger (2010) as a Stoute-trained winner of the King George.
Stoute said: "Two wonderful brave athletes. The first reaction is you feel sorry for the one that got beaten.
"It's taken a long time (to get the record sixth victory)."
Doyle smiled: "You'll be doing well if there's a happier fellow today than me.
"He's a star, there were questions over his best trip, what's his best trip now? Winning the King George over a mile and a half - he's so versatile.
"I ended up following Coronet, which wasn't really the plan, I wanted to be in front of her and if I had have been I think I would have won a bit easier.
"I left him a bit of a task, they went quick and I didn't want to start chasing a position."