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King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes Tips

2018 King George VI Weekend Preview

Towards the end of July crowds will be gathering at Ascot for the annual running of the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, the UK's richest flat race for horses aged three years or older. Last year saw another triumph for Europe's leading middle-distance horse Enable, winner of the Epsom Oaks, the Irish Oaks and the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. 

This race is the highlight of the King George VI Weekend, a two-day festival that's Ascot's most thrilling event outside of June's Royal Ascot Meeting. On Friday there are six races including the John Guest Brown Jack Stakes, while Saturday's card contains the race named in honour of the parents of Her Majesty The Queen, with a prize purse well in excess of £1 million. 

After suffering defeat at Royal Ascot, former ante-post King George favourite Cracksman looks likely to be saved for an autumn campaign. Poet's Word, who conquered Cracksman in the Prince Of Wales's Stakes, sits just behind fellow Sir Michael Stoute inmate, Crystal Ocean at the top of the market. Crystal Ocean also tasted success at Royal Ascot, cruising to victory in the Hardwicke Stakes and the stablemates look hard to separate.

Kew Gardens and Rostropovich lead Aidan O'Brien's assault on this year's King George and the three-year-old's will be gaining a good deal of weight from their older rivals. Roger Varian's Defoe, John Gosden's filly Coronet and French raider Waldgeist also feature in the high-quality list of King George entries.

King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes Betting Tips

Kew Gardens has progressed nicely in recent weeks and Crystal Ocean has bundles of potential. Yet, I fancy POET'S WORD to follow up on his victory over Cracksman by claiming a second successive Group One.

Conditions may have been in his favourite at Ascot, but the style in which James Doyle's mount dealt with Cracksman was extremely impressive. That win is easily the best piece of form in the race and Poet's Word has plenty of Group One experience to enforce his claims.

Full 2018 King George preview and each-way tip here.

King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes

First run in 1951, the race has established itself firmly as one of the most prestigious middle-distance contests in the world, and the race often attracts a strong field of runners from around Europe to contest over the Ascot racecourse for a share of a prize fund in excess of £1million. 

The race was an amalgamation of two separate races – the King George VI over two miles; and the Queen Elizabeth, which took place over the 1m 4f trip the race is run over today.

The inaugural running of the big race took place under the moniker of the ‘King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Festival of British Stakes’ due to the Festival of Britain that was taking part the same year in London, and it was at the time the richest-ever horse race to be run on home soil. 

The name of the race was amended in 1975 to ‘King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes’, although ‘Diamond’ was dropped from the name following the 2006 renewal of the contest.

Many winners go on to compete in the famous Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, which takes place in Paris in October.

Famous King George VI Winners

Throughout the race’s history, there have been many notable winners of the contest, and the race has been won by some of the biggest names in horse racing in a veritable who’s-who roll-call of winners that include the great Nijinsky, Mill Reef, Brigadier Gerard, dual-winners Dahlia and Swain, Shergar and Dancing Brave amongst a star-studded list.

And amongst the list of winners of the race, there have been plenty of top-quality performances, including when 2013 winner Novellist became only the second German-trained winner of the race when beating Irish Derby hero Trading Leather by five lengths, and in so doing set a course record time.

Andreas Wohler’s charge was following up the win of compatriot, Danedream, who had won twelve months previously for Peter Schiergen.
Sir Michael Stoute meanwhile, having saddled a 1-2-3 in the 2009 renewal with Conduit beating stablemates Tartan Bearer and Ask, struck again the following year when the classy Harbinger in 2010 who romped to a record eleven-length winning margin, destroying a top-class field in the process in what would ultimately become his final career run having later suffered a career-ending leg injury as he prepared for a tilt at the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

The 2006 renewal threw up one of the race’s greatest finishes as Hurricane Run prevailed in a protracted battle to the line with Electrocutionist and Heart’s Cry with none of the trio giving any quarter as they fought out a thrilling finish. However, even that finish wasn’t quite up to the finish of the 1975 renewal where Dahlia was attempting to land a hat-trick of wins in the race.

However, the star French performer had to settle for third in what has been billed the ‘Race of the Century’ as Grundy and Bustino served up a pulsating clash with Peter Walwyn’s Grundy just edging the spoils.

When are the next festivals?

There are plenty more racing festivals on the horizon, and our tipsters are already sharing their early picks.

Keep up to date with all of our latest tips and picks by following us on @racingtips

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