The King George Preview
The Group-1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes is Britain’s second richest flat-race, and it is run over 12-furlongs at Ascot (Saturday, 4.20).
In recent years it has mainly been dominated by four-year-olds, with 8 of the last 10 renewals going to that age bracket, with the other two being won by 3-year-olds. You have to go back to 1999 to find the last time a horse older than 4 won.
There are 9 possible runners for the 2016 King George.
Last won off a mark of 82, and has slowly climbed the ratings since despite not winning any of his last 15 races. Looked a likely possible pacemaker for the now side-lined Postponed.
Runs for joint-leading King George winning trainer Michael Stoute, and is a typically improving 4-year-old from that stable. Could find further improvement after winning two group-3s and a group-2 so far this year, with that group-2 also coming over course and distance.
Came back to something like his good 2-year-old form last time when second in a group-1, but has looked short of this class when running against the likes of New Bay and Golden Horn.
Won Grade-1s in America and Hong Kong, and will prefer the likely quicker ground here than when a neck second to Dartmouth at Royal Ascot.
Yet to hit the heights of last year, and even those would not quite be high enough. Would be ironic if he won though, as Luca Cumani trained the now absent Postponed to victory last year.
Beaten 43-lengths and 11-lengths in the English and Irish Derbys, and looks likely to be a pacemaker for Highland Reel.
Sir Isaac Newton
Steps into the unknown with first run a 12-furlongs, but has started to live-up to some of the reputation he failed to live-up to at two.
Gone close in three Group-3s this year, but well-beaten in both group-1s he’s contested.
Wings Of Desire
Bids to become the third 3-year-old winner in the last 6 years, and it’s really interesting that the other two were both trained by his trainer John Gosden. Has the potential for improvement, though his Dante wining form hasn’t been enhanced, and he was only fourth in the Derby. Does get 12lb off the older horses though.
King George Summary
The absence of Postponed has made this a much more competitive affair, and it’s no surprise that Dartmouth and Highland Reel are now fighting out favouritism after their close fought battle over course and distance in this year’s Group-2 Hardwicke Stakes. However, as it is John Gosden who has the best recent record in the race, with both his winners being 3-year-olds, it may well be Wings Of Desire who comes out on top.