Ascot’s King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes Odds and Betting Preview
Following the recent and superlative Royal Ascot meeting at the Berkshire track, the next instalment of top class Ascot racing takes place at the end of July, with the Group 1 King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes being the undoubted highlight this coming Saturday.
Due to go off at 15:40 GMT, thirteen runners are still declared to run, with Waldgeist, trained by Andre Fabre being a recent absentee due to the likelihood of fast ground in the wake of the English heatwave surrounding the country. The final declarations for this race will be confirmed on Thursday morning, so it is highly probable the field will be reduced further before the weekend.
Succinctly known as the ‘King George’ and not to be associated with the National Hunt equivalent ran at Kempton on Boxing Day, the Ascot King George is raced over the Blue Riband distance of one mile and four furlongs (2,414 meters). Weight-for-age allowances are taken into account for the King George, with three-year-old colts carrying 8st 10lbs, with fillies having another three pounds less. Four-year-olds and upwards must carry 9st 7lbs to victory, with the three-pound female allowance being the same.
First raced back in 1951, it is Britain’s most prestigious open-age flat race, and its roll of honour features some of the most highly acclaimed horses in recent history. The King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes became part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series in 2011. The winner now earns an automatic invitation to compete in the same year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf, although many of its winners subsequently compete in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp in October.
Last year’s superstar filly, Enable took the honours at Ascot before going on to further glories and in this article, we will look at the likely runners for this year’s renewal in the hope of pointing our readers in the right direction for a winning punt.
One of the all-time great trainers, Sir Michael Stoute looks to hold all the aces in this race, as the veteran handler sends market leaders, Crystal Ocean and Poets Word to contest the Group 1 event. Crystal Ocean has won all three starts so far in 2018, culminating in the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot under Ryan Moore.
Crystal Ocean is currently best priced 2/1 with William Hill and 188BET, and will have no issues with the current ground conditions. Leading jockey, William Buick is booked for the ride and Crystal Ocean looks sure to run a huge race as the son of Sea The Stars looks to win his maiden Group 1 event.
Danger From Within
The likeliest danger to Crystal Ocean may well come from the same stable, as Poets Word offers strong form and a turn of foot that could prove decisive in the final reckoning. After lowering the colours of an ‘apparently below-par’ Cracksman in the Group 1 Prince of Wales’ Stakes at the Royal meeting, Poets Word heads back to Berkshire with an outstanding chance.
At the best industry price of 9/4 with Black Type, some bookmakers have the five-year-old son of Poets Voice as their market leader. Cracksman pulled eight lengths clear of Hawkbill in third at Ascot, which suggests Poets Word’s performance may have been underestimated somewhat. He can silence his critics with victory here.
Once again, Aidan O’Brien has a strong presence in the five-day declarations for the King George, with five currently standing their ground. According to the ante-post market, Ballydoyle’s leading hope looks to be Kew Gardens, as market moves have taken place in recent days.
The three-year old will get an eleven-pound weight allowance over his elders, and that weight pull brings the son of Galileo right into consideration. Kew Gardens is likely to be ridden by Ryan Moore and at the 5/1 generally available looks to be a solid each-way bet to nothing after putting a poor effort in The Derby long behind.
Next One Up?
John Gosden has Cracksman entered in the King George, but his participation is likely to be scratched due to the firm conditions similar to those he encountered behind Poets Word at Royal Ascot. Hopes of victory are not over though as Coronet could spring a surprise if the leading protagonists underperform.
The four-year-old produced a career best effort – although in defeat – behind Waldgeist in the Group 1 Grand Prix du Saint-Cloud at the beginning of July, and a similar effort would be required to figure here. Coronet is a generally available 10/1 shot and is another worthy of place considerations.
One at a Price
Provided she takes her chance on Saturday afternoon, Aidan O’Brien’s four-year-old filly Hydrangea could be the one to outrun bigger odds. Several layers including Ladbrokes offer 25/1 on the offspring of Galileo. Hydrangea has not produced her best form so far this season – hence the juicy odds – but has winning form over this trip and distance at Ascot from last year, albeit on much different ground. She is one to keep an eye on.
A highly anticipated renewal of the King George is almost upon us and this is one of my personal favourite races of the Flat calendar.
Sir Michael Stoute has a very strong hand in the race with both market principles under his care, but preference is for Poets Word to have the necessary turn of foot at the end of the race to prove decisive. Crystal Ocean is a fine adversary and could well win, but Poets Word’s performance in the Prince of Wales’ Stakes has been somewhat underappreciated in my view and he can prove his worth here.
At the current odds of 5/1, Kew Gardens offers a solid place bet, with the hope of lowering the colours of the Stoute duo. He rates as a bet to nothing at the prices.
- Poets Word to win the King George at 9/4 with Black Type
- Kew Gardens Each-Way at 5/1 with William Hill.