The King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes is a Group 1 flat race open to thoroughbreds aged three years or older. It is run at Ascot over a distance of one mile and four furlongs, taking place on Saturday July 21.
Betfair started to sponsor the King George in 2009 and its prize fund was increased from £750,000 to £1,000,000. It is now Britain’s second richest horse race, with a purse exceeded only by that of the Epsom Derby.
It’s also Britain’s most prestigious open-age flat race, and its roll of honour features some of the most highly-acclaimed horses of the sport’s recent history.
The favourite for this year’s event is Coronation Cup winner St Nicholas Abbey, who is available ar around the 9/4 mark. The Aiden O’Brien horse had previously disappointed when second at Meydan and the Curragh when short priced favourite earlier in the year. But St Nicholas Abbey looked back to his best at Epsom last time out.
He was ridden confidently by O’Brien who held the horse up at the rear of the field in the early stages before making his challenge in the straight. He produced what the Irish Independent described as “a brilliant turn of foot” to take the lead and went clear of his opponents to win by four and a half lengths from Red Cadeaux and Masked Marvel. He certainly deserves his favourite status for this race.
The second in the market is 5/2 chance Nathaniel after he won last time out in the Coral Eclipse Stakes at Sandown at the start of July. This win was all the more admirable after the horse had respiratory problems in early 2012 and Nathaniel did not make his first appearance of the season until the Eclipse.
Running for the first time in more than eight months, he started 7/2 second favourite in a field which included Monterosso, Twice Over, Cityscape, Crackerjack King and Bonfire. After the race, trainer John Gosden praised the colt’s quality and courage whilst also explaining that the break of only two weeks before the King George was not ideal.
These two horses are of standout quality in my opinion but other worthy contenders include Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes winner Sea Moon, who is around the 3/1 mark at the time of writing. Second on that day at Royal Ascot in late June, Dunaden, also runs in the King George and is an 11/2 shot.
The winner will most likely come from these four and we think Nathaniel may just emerge triumphant on July 21. It’s a tough one to call though.