Ascot’s King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (4.35pm) provides a fascinating challenge for punters today. The top Group 1 middle-distance race in Britain, it has a typically strong line-up but there seems to be one horse that has been forgotten in the betting despite the fact she destroyed the best horses in Europe not so long ago. Before we get to that, we take a look at the chances of the contenders:
Sea Moon: This four year old son of Beat Hollow is currently rated 124 and is a runner that you have to take seriously. He comes into the race on the back of two wins. The latest was over the same course and distance when he romped home in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot. He beat Mikel Delzangle’s Dunaden by over three lengths on ground that was also good to soft. Yes, Melbourne Cup hero Dunaden was hampered and did not get the best of runs but Sea Moon looked to be comfortably in charge in the final stages. Sir Michael Stoute is not a trainer who will give his charges more runs than they can physically take without incurring damage (unlike some others listed here). This is only his third run this season and there are sound reasons to expect him to continue his unbeaten run.
St Nicholas Abbey: This immensely talented five year old son of Montjeu also comes into the King George looking to be in good form. Rated 124, he last ran in the Diamond Jubilee Coronation Stakes at Epsom on 2 June beating trainer Ed Dunlop’s Melbourne Cup runner-up Red Cadeaux in impressive style. Jockey Joseph O’Brien had dropped his whip but fortunately the loss of the persuader was not an issue. That contest was conducted on ground described as good to firm. In November last year he beat Sea Moon by just over two lengths when they met at Churchill downs in the Breeders’ Cup Turf. He was giving away four pounds to Sea Moon under Joseph O’Brien on ground described as firm.
Prior to his Coronation Stakes victory he was beaten a length by stablemate Windsor Palace at the Curragh over one mile two furlongs on soft ground. Yes, that was in Ireland where a bottomless bog can sometimes be described as soft but recent form suggests that he now performs best on a firmer surface. O’Brien’s in and out performance at Royal Ascot suggests that some of his horses are taking their chances when not on top form. With that fact in mind he does not provide value at his current price.
Nathaniel: John Gosden’s colt triumphed in the Group 1 Coral Eclipse at Sandown on July 7 over one mile two furlongs. He beat the favourite, Saeed Bin Suroor’s Farrh, by half a length on good to soft ground under William Buick. Nathaniel won this last year so there are no doubts about track or trip. He is currently rated 126 and the stable are on great form so he must have every chance of doubling up. Like Sir Michael Stoute, Gosden does not overstretch his horses. This is only his second run as a four year old. Hard to ignore him.
Danedream: Rarely has there been such a dominant performance in the Arc de Triomphe as Danedream’s demolition of a strong field on the first Sunday of last October. She had St Nicholas Abbey over six lengths back in fifth yet the filly is over twice his odds today. That is a measure of how wrong her price in today’s King George betting might be. She disappointed last time in a muddling four-runner affair. If it were not for that one dud line on her otherwise amazing scorecard she would be favourite here. The German-trained runner has shown her best form on a surface with some give and this test looks ideal. The daughter of Lomitas has been ignored in the betting and is well worth another chance each-way to show she is the best middle-distance horse in Europe. Nobody was disputing that fact just a few months ago.
The other contenders: Michael Owen’s Brown Panther seems to be regularly entered to least advantage. He sluiced up at lowly Pontefract last time but surely should not be in this race. Connections ought to learn it is better to win a Group 3 in Europe than get stuffed in a Group 1 at Ascot. Deep Brillante is the Japanese raider. Past performances in the Arc and Dubai World Cup show we always underestimate the Japanese challengers and it may be costly to dismiss this 20/1 shot too. Reliable Man was a fair fourth behind So You Think at Ascot and it would be no surprise if he ran better than his 25/1 odds might suggest. However thoughts of victory are far fetched for even the most biased of optimists.
King George Betting Tips Verdict
Sea Moon and Eclipse hero Nathaniel head the market on the basis of their excellent recent form and there is very little to choose between them. However DANEDREAM won the Arc by an incredible five lengths last October and somehow everyone seems to have forgotten that fact. She is huge value at around 10/1. Have a healthy each-way bet.