Ascot brings one of the most prestigious all-age 1m4f contests run anywhere in the world in late July, as the Berkshire venue plays host to the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
One of the most intriguing aspects of this contest is the battle between the generations it represents, as the three year olds tackle their elders.
Established in 1951, this race combined two former races, the King George VI Stakes and the Queen Elizabeth Stakes. Nijinsky, Brigadier Gerard, Mill Reef, Shergar, Dancing Brave, Galileo and Enable are just a few of the names to feature on what is a simply stellar roll of honour.
Next Race: TBD
The next renewal of this race has not been scheduled yet. We will update this once the schedule has been released for next season. The race info, trends and tips shown below will be updated for the next renewal once the final declarations have been made.
Last Run: 25th July 2020
- Winner: Enable
- SP: 4/9
- Trainer: John Gosden
- Jockey: Frankie Dettori
1m4f is the trip for this Group 1 affair, with the race offering a very tidy £400,000 in total prize money this year. The going at the track is currently described as good and although some rain is forecast on the day it should stay that way.
|Going||Distance||Grade||Prize Money||Runners||EW Terms|
|Good||1m4f||Group 1||£400,000||4 Runners||Win Only|
King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes Betting Tips
Note: The following tips are from 2020. Tips for the next renewal will be added once the final declarations have been made.
Just the four runners go to post in what has the potential to be a truly historic edition of Britain’s most prestigious all-age race. Last year the wonder-mare Enable joined Dahlia and Swain as the only dual winners in the history of the event, and this year the John Gosden-trained runner bids to become the only horse to ever win the race on three occasions. Given the disappointingly small field she certainly looks to have a very decent chance.
Only two trainers are represented in this year’s line-up, but both have an excellent record in the event. Sitting on four wins apiece, John Gosden and Aidan O’Brien lie only two behind the all-time leader, Sir Michael Stoute, and clearly one of them will move within one win come the end of the contest.
This race hasn’t been particularly kind to favourite backers, with only three wins in the past decade – resulting in a level stakes loss of -£3.59. That said, those three wins have come in the space of the past four editions, with two of course being recorded by this year’s jolly, Enable. It would take a brave punter to bet against her recording a famous hat-trick but some are sure to chance their arm given the short odds on the two-time Arc winner.
|Enable||1/2||128||John Gosden||Frankie Dettori|
|Japan||3/1||122||Aidan O'Brien||Ryan Moore|
Enable – 1/2
Six pounds clear of the field on official ratings, and in receipt of the 3lb fillies’ and mares’ allowance, there is no doubt that on the form book it is Enable who they all have to beat. Thoroughly proven over this course and distance having coasted home by 4½l in this race in 2017, and narrowly edged out Crystal Ocean in an absolute classic last year, she looks the most likely winner if running to anywhere near her best.
The question is, will she be able to get close to that peak level as a six year-old? The trends would look to be against her, with only one so old having come home in front in the long history of the event. For the first time in her career, she also heads into a race on the back of consecutive defeats, which certainly suggests age may be catching up with her.
That said, those second placed finishes in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and Coral-Eclipse were certainly no disgrace, particularly as she was reportedly only 85%-90% fit for that latest reverse. The daughter of Nathaniel does tend to take significant step forward from her first run of the season, and with Frankie Dettori once again in the saddle, looks like making a bold bid for the history books.
Japan – 3/1
Standing in the way of Enable are three four year old colts from the Aidan O’Brien operation, all of whom took part in the 2019 Epsom Derby. Anthony Van Dyck of course won that race, but has been plagued by inconsistency since, whilst Sovereign stepped up from his 10th placed finish at Epsom to land the Irish version of the race with a bold front running display. It’s never easy to draw a line through a Classic winner, but the most likely victor from the O’Brien trio – and the choice of Ryan Moore – would look to be Japan.
A narrow fourth in that 2019 Derby contest, this son of Galileo then went on to prove himself at the highest level with back to back Group 1 successes at Longchamp and York, before running another cracker to finish fourth in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe – only 2¼l adrift of Enable in second.
He is now without a win in each of his last three, having been beaten in both the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes and Coral-Eclipse this season, but supporters will still likely take great heart from that third placed finish at Sandown last time out – particularly as this horse tends to improve throughout the season. Travelling in behind Ghaiyyath that day, he didn’t have the pace to go past in the closing stages, but was only a neck adrift of Enable at the line, and may at the very least give the favourite something to think about here.
King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes Winners
|2020||Enable||4/9||John Gosden||Frankie Dettori|
|2019||Enable||8/15||John Gosden||Frankie Dettori|
|2018||Poet’s Word||7/4||Sir Michael Stoute||James Doyle|
|2017||Enable||5/4||John Gosden||Frankie Dettori|
|2016||Highland Reel||13/8||Aidan O’Brien||Ryan Moore|
|2015||Postponed||6/1||Luca Cumani||Andre Atzeni|
|2014||Taghrooda||7/2||John Gosden||Paul Hanagan|
|2013||Novellist||13/2||Andreas Wohler||Johnny Murtagh|
|2012||Danedream||9/1||Peter Schiergen||Andrasch Starke|
|2011||Nathaniel||11/2||John Gosden||William Buick|
About the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes
You will not find a bigger open-age flat race in the UK than the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes. Unmatched in terms of status, the Group 1 contest is Ascot’s most prestigious mid-summer event and one of the racing highlights of the season. Unlike many big races, the only requirement is that horses are over three-years-old. Fillies and mares benefit from a three pound allowance while southern hemisphere four-year-olds enjoy a four advantage.
The long name of the race is a result of it being an amalgamation of two events. The King George VI used to be a two mile contest held in October while the Queen Elizabeth was four furlongs shorter and was run in July. Neither lasted long though as just a few years after their inception Ascot’s Course Clerk, Major John Crocker Bulteel, merged the pair. He did so in the hope of creating an internationally recognised one and a half mile contest for horses aged three and above, and how he managed that.
There were certainly big plans for the future of the race when it first featured in 1951 during the Festival of Britain. Although there have been some minor tweaks to its name, as well as various sponsorship deals, it has stayed true to what Crocker Bulteel had in mind all those years ago. From its humble origins, the King George as it is commonly referred to, now stands as the second most valuable race in Britain, second only to the Derby. It also serves as a route into the Breeders’ Cup Turf with King George champions handed automatic entry to the big American held contest.
THE PRIX DE L’ARC DE TRIOMPHE AWAITS?
There are many future possibilities for a horse who has won a race as important as the King George, including the Arc. Arguably the most prestigious horse race on the continent, it is one of the few races that would top a King George victory. Ran over the same distance and also available to three-year-olds and above, many who feature in Ascot’s top summer spectacle often wind up at Longchamp in October. King George champions don’t consistently make the trip but those that do tend to put in a decent shift across the Channel as you can see below.
Although only Enable in 2017 and Dylan Thomas in 2007 have been able to win the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in the same season since 2000, Danedream, Hurricane Run and Montjeu did win the two in separate years. In total there have been ten dual King George and Arc winners, seven of those were in the same season.
Dual King George and Arc Winners: 1951 – 2019
|Horse||Trainer||King George Win(s)||Arc Win(s)|
|Dylan Thomas||Aidan O’Brien||2007||2007|
|Hurricane Run||Andre Fabre||2006||2005|
|Lammtarra||Saeed bin Suroor||1995||1995|
|Dancing Brave||Guy Harwood||1986||1986|
|Mill Reef||Ian Balding||1971||1971|
RACE OF THE CENTURY
You’ll never find any agreement on what should hold the title as race of the century but it is something often attached to the 1975 King George. Even watching it back today, it’s hard not to get excited about it, such was the intensity of the battle between Grundy and Bustino.
The latter was joined by two stable mates who set a blistering early pace in an attempt to tire the famously fast finishing Grundy. It very nearly worked too as down the home straight the 5/4 on favourite pulled level with Bustino but was unable to go clear. The two continued to battle with no more than a neck’s length in it but Grundy just managed to hold on. It remains a battle any racing fan simply has to see and it’s available to watch below.
HARBINGER STUNS ASCOT CROWD
While the 1975 edition of this race has gone down as the top renewal of the 1900s, we’ve already seen an early contender for king renewal of the 21st century. Unlike before, the 2010 running of the King George didn’t see a famous battle between two horses down the home straight, quite the opposite in fact.
There was nothing to separate the leading four horses two furlongs out but it was at this point that Olivier Peslier set Harbinger loose. To say the son of Dansili blew the field away would be an understatement. He drew clear of the field with truly frightening ease, winning by a record-breaking 11 lengths and clocking a then record time of 2:26:78. See Harbinger’s devastating finish in all its glory below.
AGE UNABLE TO HOLD BACK POET’S WORD & Enable
The age trends for this race were very much against Poet’s Word ahead of the 2018 renewal of the King George. Prior to his narrow success over Crystal Ocean there hadn’t been a winner older than four this century. Like busses, this was followed in 2019 by John Gosden’s Enable who also won at the age of 5, ironically ahead of Crystal Ocean again in second by the same winning distance of a neck as with 12 months previously.
Despite being open to all ages, it has very much been a race for younger horses, as you can clearly see in the chart below. The inability of older horses to make their mark in this race combined with the tendency to retire winners to stud, has led to a distinct lack of multiple-time champions. Only three horses have won this race on more than one occasion, Enable (2017, 2019), Dahlia (1973, 1974) and Swain (1997, 1998).
FILLIES RARELY TASTE SUCCESS
Older horses haven’t fared well in this race and neither have the girls. Following Time Charter’s victory in 1983, we went nearly 30 years without a female winner. The drought finally ended courtesy of the German trained Danedream in 2012. Despite her Arc victory in the season earlier, the filly set off an unfancied 9/1 shot but once again produced big to become the first female double winner of the two races.
After such a long wait, another filly champion emerged just two years later in the form of Taghrooda. Riding over a stone lighter than some of her rivals on an account of age and gender, the John Gosden-trained horse secured an impressive three length win. This was followed twice by Enable meaning that half of the races since 2012 have been won by a filly or mare.
KING GEORGE WINNING FILLIES & MARES
|2019||Enable||John Gosden||Frankie Dettori|
|2017||Enable||John Gosden||Frankie Dettori|
|2014||Taghrooda||John Gosden||Paul Hanagan|
|2012||Danedream||Peter Schiergen||Andrasch Starke|
|1983||Time Charter||Henry Candy||Joe Mercer|
|1976||Pawneese||Angel Penna Snr.||Yves Saint-Martin|
|1974||Dahlia||Maurice Zilber||Lester Piggott|
|1973||Dahlia||Maurice Zilber||Bill Pyers|
|1969||Park Top||Bernard van Custem||Lester Piggott|
|1966||Aunt Edith||Noel Murless||Lester Piggott|