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King George outcome depends on weather

There are ten horses declared for Ascot’s King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. The going is good to soft but showers are forecast. That may change the ground to soft, which won’t suit Highland Reel or his brother Idaho.

It’s no surprise to see Highland Reel drift in the betting. Of his six Group 1 wins, two came on firm, two on good to firm and two on good. Each time he faced yielding ground, he finished well beaten.

Idaho’s three wins have all been on good to firm, although he finished second in an Irish Group 3 on heavy ground. He won the Group 2 Hardwicke last time out and would have won last year’s St Leger but for unseating his rider.

Jack Hobbs won the Sheema Classic in March on yielding ground. However, he then finished last of eight behind Highland Reel in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes.

Ulysses won the Eclipse last time out and also won the Gordon Richards Stakes over the same course and distance on good to firm. He won his maiden on good to soft but has six lengths to find on Highland Reel on their 2016 Breeders’ Cup Turf running.

King George outsiders

Benbatl’s Group 3 win at Royal Ascot just doesn’t look good enough.

Desert Encounter finished third in the Eclipse, his first Group 1 start. However, he stayed on past beaten horses and his finishing position may have flattered him.

My Dream Boat won last year’s Prince of Wales’s Stakes but hasn’t won since, although he ran well in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud last time.

Argentinian horse Sixties Song would be an unlikely winner, while Maverick Wave is Jack Hobbs’ pacemaker.

That leaves the favourite, Enable, winner of the Cheshire, English and Irish Oaks. She’s never raced on turf slower than good.  There’s no value backing her for the King George at 11/10 or 6/5. Highland Reel looks much better value at around 4/1. He may be shorter on the day.


About Chris Pitt

Chris Pitt is a racing historian and freelance journalist. He has written three books including 'A Long Time Gone', chronicling Britain's lost racecourses, and 'Go Down to the Beaten', stories of jockeys who didn't win the Grand National. He founded the Midlands Racing Club and was formerly racing correspondent for BBC Radio WM.

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