There is more Group One action coming your way from Ascot this weekend when the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes is set to run for the 70th time.
The race itself will head off over 1 mile, 3 furlongs and 211 yards and the runners will go to post at 3.35pm on Saturday July 24.
Britain’s most prestigious open age flat race is also its second richest horse race with a purse dwarfed only by the Derby.
The contest is open to horses aged three years or older and has, over the years, featured many of the greatest flat race horses of all time such as Mill Reef, Brigadier Gerard and Galileo.
It is common place for winners of this race to go on to compete in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
The race’s 1975 renewal has regularly been recalled as the Race Of The Century due to the absolute monster of a duel between legendary pair Grundy and Bustino.
But what can we expect from the 2021 King George?
King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes Betting Tips – 2021
A total of six horses all with Group One class have been declared from Love, Adayar, Mishriff, Lone Eagle, Wonderful Tonight and Broome.
First we need to talk about Love.
Last year’s 1,000 Guineas and Epsom Oaks winner Love heads the betting as the short priced favourite.
Aidan O’Brien’s five times Group One winning filly was successful in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot last month and was unbeaten in three starts in 2020 where she also took down the Yorkshire Oaks at York.
Her Ascot run should stand her in good stead here and the ground looks set to suit too so she really has to be considered to be in with an excellent chance of stretching her Group One trophy haul to six.
— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) July 20, 2021
Saudi Cup and Dubai Sheema Classic winning Mishriff is also likely to be contention at Ascot this weekend when the four year old contests his first British Group One.
This will be only his second run out over a mile and a half after he won Dubai Sheema Classic at the beginning of the year. He also came home third in the Eclipse at Sandown earlier this month where he was slightly below his best following a 98 day break.
He was in the frame to run over a mile and a quarter at York in the Group Two York Stakes on Saturday, but connections – John and Thady Gosden – elected for Ascot for the son of Make Believe instead.
Gosden’s Clarehaven Stables in Newmarket have won the King George five times in the past decade, on the last three occasions with the same horse the record breaking three times winner Enable.
No wonder Gosden favours Mishriff for this one instead.
Mishriff is a multiple Group One champion and has racked in over £10 million in prizemoney and should be primed and ready for this and likely to be in the mix.
Derby Winner In The Hunt
Epsom Derby winner Adayar, who also came home in second place in the Novibet Derby Trial Stakes at Lingfield back in May, is the second favourite for Saturday’s run.
Charlie Appleby’s three year old colt gets his first run out since his Derby heroics this weekend where he picks up an 8lb allowance from Love.
Should he win, and he very well might, Adayar would become first Derby winner to land the King George since the great Galileo in 2001.
Speaking Of Galileo
Given that three of his four wins have come on soft ground, son of Galileo Lone Eagle’s connections will be praying for a timely drop of rain or two before the big race.
Martyn Meade’s three year old colt was just pipped in the final few strides in the Irish Derby at the Curragh but was well clear of the chasing pack all the same.
Frankie Dettori, himself shooting for a record eighth King George, is booked to be on board and he was in the saddle at the Curragh when the duo shot into a three length lead and looked for all the world line the winner before Grand Prix de Paris champion Hurricane Lane stole things on the line.
He clearly enjoys big galloping courses and that’s what he’ll be facing at Ascot where he should show his class once again.
Sussex based Frenchman David Menuisier’s Wonderful Tonight’s best two run outs have come over this course and at this distance.
The most memorable of these came in last year’s Fillies & Mares Stakes on Champions Day.
These runs all came when the going was soft so is another that will hoping for the rains to come.
The final runner in this year’s renewal is Broome, another who likes it soft.
Aiden O’Brien’s charge, who has won four of his six starts this season, proved his Group One worthiness earlier this month when he took down the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud in France.
This weekend may be a stretch too far for him though.
For a number of these horses the prospect of quick ground is a concern, but that won’t worry Love who is clearly the horse to beat.
Given her fillies’ allowance, she will take some stopping over this distance this year and there is no reason to think she wont so everyone how good she is once again.
Adayar will pose the biggest threat but cannot concede as much as an inch and will need to replicate his Derby form if he is to conquer Love.
The good news is that dry and warm weather is forecast until Friday evening when thunderstorms are predicted at Ascot which could still be around on Saturday too.
If so, we could be in for a real treat as potentially one of the best flat races of the season is set to go off this weekend.