This Saturday sees a fantastic day in store for fans of flat racing, as the world’s best middle-distance horses arrive at Ascot to take part in one of the most prestigious Group One races in the calendar.
A superb field of 11 horses have already been confirmed and it looks set to be a cracking renewal over a mile and three furlongs.
I’ve taken a look at the card and have picked out some of the horses to keep an eye on, whilst also assessing the rest of the field.
Anthony Van Dyck (13/2)
Aidan O’Brien’s colt came through strongly at the Epsom Derby back in June, when Seamie Heffernan waited for a gap to open up on the inside and stayed on to claim the win.
However, this was followed by a disappointing run at the Curragh, with Anthony Van Dyck looking to win a British and Irish Derby double. At 33/1, Sovereign opened up an unassailable lead on O’Brien’s colt, but it was a poor race, despite Anthony Van Dyck finishing second.
Three-year olds have a poor recent record in the King George, with just three winners since the turn of the century. His staying ability isn’t questionable, but there look to be stronger horses in this race.
Enable will be looking to win her second King George after victory in 2017 and it’s hard to form an argument as to how she’ll fail.
She returned at the Eclipse earlier in the month after trainer John Gosden had to abandon some runs earlier in the year. She ran at 80% capacity and was still the strongest horse in the race, managing to defeat the fitter horses in the race and enters Saturday’s renewal looking for an eleventh straight win.
At 4/6, one of the others in the field is going to have to have a miracle run if they’re to beat the dual Arc winner.
Crystal Ocean (11/4)
Sir Michael Stoute’s horse comes into the King George fresh from a win in the Prince of Wales’ Stakes, where a masterful run culminated in a maiden Group One win for Crystal Ocean.
11 months on from an agonising second place in last year’s King George, Stoute and Frankie Dettori were celebrating in the awful conditions at Ascot, having demolished Magical and Waldgeist in the home straight.
Last year’s King George saw a narrow second-place finish to stablemate Poet’s Word, who remains just one of two horses to defeat the five-year old (Cracksman the other). This shows that only genuine top-class horses have been able to beat him, however, there’s one also running in this race…
Rest of the Field
Defoe (11/1) stunned everyone with a win in the Coronation Cup, before following up with a win in the Hardwicke, but both races looked weak and it’ll require a career-best effort to achieve even a place finish.
Andre Fabre’s Waldgeist (18/1) has failed to live up to expectations so far this year and Ascot hasn’t been a great venue for the five-year old. Unlikely to challenge Enable or Crystal Ocean.
Asian runner, Cheval Grand (25/1), shows that the King George Stakes is truly on the global stage, but hasn’t won a race since November 2017. However, on his day, he can cope with the market leaders.