(Updated 21/07/2016 – Postponed now a non runner)
The world-famous King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes will be held at Ascot on Saturday. Who are the leading contenders for this season’s renewal of the UK’s most prestigious open-age flat race?
With Postponed having been withdrawn, Dartmouth has emerged as the clear market leader. Sir Michael Stoute’s Dubawi colt comes into the race off the back of 3 consecutive Group wins. Victory in the John Porter Stakes was followed by narrow defeats of both Wicklow Brave in the Ormonde Stakes and Highland Reel in the Hardwicke Stakes. The last of those victories did involve an element of good fortune, though.Dartmouth Currently 2/1 At RaceBets – Check Latest Price Now
Sired by Galileo and out of a dam called Hveger, Aidan O’Brien’s charge was hugely successful in 2015. The 4-year-old won both the G1 Secretariat Stakes and the G1 Hong Kong Vase. However, Highland Reel was well held by Postponed in the G1 Dubai Sheema Classic and also finished behind Last Impact, a horse that went off at odds of 40/1. Despite this, Highland Reel was certainly unlucky to finish behind Dartmouth in the Hardwicke. Seamie Heffernan dropped the whip in the home straight, yet the horse still only lost by a head. This very-much has the feel of a rematch, following an unsatisfactory result.Highland Reel Currently 5/2 At RaceBets – Check Latest Price Now
Wings Of Desire
4th in the Epsom Derby, this John Gosden 3-year-old is lightly raced and already looks capable of winning a G1 encounter. He beat the likes of Deauville, Foundation and Midterm, when winning the G2 Dante Stakes by just a neck. If he is still improving, then Wings Of Desire could well be the biggest threat to both Dartmouth and Highland Reel.Wings Of Desire Currently 10/3 At RaceBets – Check Latest Price Now
Erupt is also in with a chance, as is Dartmouth who recently won the G2 Hardwicke Stakes, although Western Hymn, Sir Isaac Newton, Second Step, Ajman Bridge and Shogun will please connections if they simply manage to place in this company.
History of King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes
This race was first held in 1951, when it was won by Supreme Court. Charlie Elliot was on-board the Evan Williams-trained runner. The 1975 renewal featured Grundy and Bustino. These two top-class thoroughbreds fought such a titanic battle that the race is regarded as one of the best in the history of the sport.
The runners and riders travel a distance of one and a half miles, sweeping right-handed over the famous Ascot turf. Three year-olds carry eight stones and nine pounds, while older horses are burdened with nine stones and seven pounds. Fillies and mares receive three pounds, while four pounds is deducted from any four year-old runner from the Southern Hemisphere.
Some incredibly gifted horses have won this contest, in recent years, including Galileo, Montjeu, King’s Theatre, Opera House, Generous, Nashwan and Reference Point. Brigadier Gerard is, perhaps, the race’s most celebrated champion.
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