King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes Preview – Saturday 24th July
Last updated: July 22, 2021 by Leon Marshal
Saturday’s Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot has the potential to be one of the races of the season. The entries include Aidan O’Brien’s Love, a wide margin winner of the 2020 Epsom Oaks, and this year’s Derby winner Adayar. The progressive filly Wonderful Tonight and Irish Derby runner-up Lone Eagle could also feature in a fascinating clash of the generations.
The King George is one of the most prestigious mile and a half races in Europe and is often a pointer to the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. John Gosden’s Enable became the first horse to win this race three times in 2017, 2019 and 2020. Her name sits proudly on top of a list of such legends as Nijinsky (1970), Mill Reef (1971), Brigadier Gerard (1972), Shergar (1981) and Dancing Brave (1986).
Ground Conditions Favour Love In King George
Love reappeared at Royal Ascot after a 300-day absence to beat Audarya by three-quarters of a length in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes. On the bare form alone, it was not an outstanding performance but it was over a mile and a quarter and she was not fully wound up. Good ground had been the key to her phenomenal improvement last season, winning her three starts by an aggregate of more than 18 lengths.
She was particularly impressive in the Oaks when leaving her rivals toiling with a 9 lengths victory. The going is expected to ride on the fast side of good this weekend as the current heatwave sweeps the UK. Ascot will ensure a good racing surface and Love steps back up to her optimum trip.
Epsom Derby winner Adayar is yet to race on ground faster than good. The son of Frankel looked a bit laboured when unable to cut down Third Realm at Lingfield in May but left that form well behind at Epsom. He comprehensively reversed the form with the winner in beating Mojo Star and subsequent Irish Derby winner Hurricane Lane. He seemed to benefit from being kept closer to the pace that day but he did take a long time to find top gear on good ground at Sandown in April.
Dettori Booked For Lone Eagle At Ascot
Frankie Dettori equalled Lester Piggott’s record of seven King George victories last year and now bids to go one better aboard Lone Eagle. The improving Galileo colt looked certain to win the Irish Derby with a furlong to run but was reeled in by Hurricane Lane and beaten a neck. He had finished behind Adayar at Sandown in April before comfortably beating Yibir at Goodwood in soft ground. He seems to go on any ground but there is a slight concern that the hard race at the Curragh could have left its mark.
The drying ground must be a big worry for connections of Wonderful Tonight, so impressive when beating Broome in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot. David Menuisier’s filly has won five times, all on ground officially soft or heavy. She has been beaten on all three starts on good or good to soft ground and never raced on fast ground.
Broome chased home Wonderful Tonight at the Royal meeting and has since won a Group 1 in France. He has some form on good to firm ground, notably when a close fourth in the 2019 Epsom Derby. It could be argued that he favours a bit of cut but he is tough and consistent. Mishriff completes the six-runner line-up for John and Thady Gosden. He won the Sheema Classic at Meydan on good ground in March. That was his only previous start at this trip and he was beaten on his return to ten furlongs in the Eclipse earlier this month.
Love @11-10 William Hill
The King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes is due off at 3.35 at Ascot on Saturday 24th July and will be televised live on ITV.