The highlight of this weekend’s racing takes place at Ascot in the form of the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. A race run over 1 mile 4 furlongs open to all ages and looks like its going to be run on very quick ground which should please most racing fans. Last year’s winner Enable was very impressive, but most watching that day would have preferred better ground and this year they will get their wish.
Sir Michael Stoute is mob handed in this year’s renewal with the front two in the market and if he can get the win it will put him clear as the trainer who has won this race the most times. He’s closely followed though by one AP O’Brien who is also coming here with a strong hand. Those two names alone doing battle wets the appetite of any true racing fan.
Looking through the race at time of writing we can’t be a hundred percent sure what the complete line up will be.
Cracksman a general 10/1 shot looks unlikely to run after a poor show last time and ideally wants a bit more cut in the ground. The Coronation Cup winner has been criticised by some for his poor showing but will be back in the winner’s enclosure sooner rather than later.
Cliffs Of Moher a general 20/1 shot has had a very busy season and been a reliable sort running good races behind some decent horses. At Ascot in the space of three days he finished behind Cracksman, Poets Word and Crystal Ocean which does suggest they have him well covered but also shows he’s a very very tough horse and his trainer obviously thinks he thrives in the big races. It would be a huge shock if he was to win but it would be no surprise to see him sneak a place.
Bateel and Hydrangea are closely matched on form with Hydrangea just getting the better of the two when they faced each other last, but that was with a weight advantage. Both currently big prices now, my preference of the two would be Bateel for an each way bet. She only had one race this year and looked in fine form, whilst Hydrangea has disappointed since.
The big punters in this race will be focusing on the top three in the market and for some they’ll look no further than Sir Michael Stoute’s stables. Crystal Ocean the current favourite a general 2/1 shot is the horse on everyone’s lips. An ultra impressive Hardwicke winner and looking for his fourth win on the bounce I wouldn’t put you off him. He looks classy and reliable, a real King George horse. His price and the fact that the yard is struggling to split their two runners, just some of the reasons he won’t be getting my money but no surprise to see him go in favourite.
Poets Word is Sir Michael’s other big gun in the race. A general 2/1 poke, he shot to the front of everyone’s thinking when beating the highly touted (at the time) Cracksman on his last outing. A very impressive performance but obvious questions remain as to whether Cracksman ran his true race. If I was forced to choose between the two I’d probably side with Crystal Ocean, but I think there’s very little between them and it most likely will come down to luck in running or jockey decisions.
So that leaves us with the biggest Irish threat in the race, Kew Gardens. A general 5/1 shot, the Aidan O’Brien trained colt is looking to emulate his sire Galileo by winning the race as a three-year-old. A difficult task considering the rock-solid pair at the top of the market. Finished ninth in the derby this year having led most of the race and tired late on, a change of tactics ensued in his next two races and this has worked a treat. I’ve been very impressed, and his trainer’s comments have also been encouraging, stating that he’s doing really well physically. Ryan Moore likely to be on board is another massive positive along with the 11lbs he’ll be receiving from the principle contenders. In my eyes, a great bet at 5/1 with ComeOn!