*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change
A star-studded field is set to line up for one of the most prestigious races of the season on Saturday, the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.
What this renewal lacks in quantity of runners, it more than makes up for it in quality. Five of the six have previously landed a Group 1 including this season’s Irish Derby winner Westover and last year’s shock Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe hero Torquator Tasso.
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The one horse lacking a top-level success on their CV is Emily Upjohn, who only went down by a short head in last month’s Epsom Oaks despite conceding a number of lengths when stumbling out of the stalls.
It may look like a minefield trying to pick the winner of Saturday’s 3.35pm at Ascot but a quick leaf through the history books should provide some helpful clues…
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A key trend that has figured among the last 20 winners of the King George is that their previous win was at Group 2 level or better. Emily Upjohn’s last victory was the Group 3 Musidora Stakes, while Pyledriver’s most recent success came in the Listed Churchill Stakes on the all-weather track at Lingfield.
The last 20 winners of the King George all made between three and 16 career starts before scoring in the Ascot showpiece, a statistic which leaves a couple of runners looking vulnerable. Pyledriver has lined up under rules 17 times and the experienced Broome has gone to post on 24 occasions.
Scanning Paddy Power’s odds should provide another pointer towards the most likely scorer as the last 20 King George winners have all entered Ascot’s winner’s enclosure at a starting price of no bigger than 9/1. Broome, Pyledriver and Torquator Tasso are all currently available at double-digit odds ahead of Saturday’s 3.35pm post time. The biggest-priced winner in that period, however, was German runner Danedream so maybe it’s worth keeping an eye on Torquator Tasso’s odds…
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A fourth key trend to note is that 17 of the last 20 winners were all aged three of four, which throws up questions about five-year-old trio Mishriff, Pyledriver, Torquator Tasso and six-year-old Broome. 2018 scorer Poet’s Word was the first five-year-old winner since Daylami in 1999, while superstar Enable recorded back-to-back victories in 2019 and 2020 at the ages of five and six. The four-year-olds have done the bulk of the scoring, however, as there have been just five three-year-old winners in the time period so that might not exactly be a comprehensive tick in favour of Emily Upjohn and Westover.
It also requires a classy horse to land the King George, and it’s not surprise that eight of the last 13 King George winners boasted an official rating in excess of 121. The lowest-rated winner in that time period was Nathaniel, who went on to sire Enable and this year’s Epsom Derby winner Desert Crown. Mishriff (125) and Torquator Tasso (123) are the only ones in this year’s field to pass that 121 bar, although Broome and Westover are agonisingly close at 120.
OK, so the trends don’t appear to throw up a clear-cut winner in the battle of the generations but the horses with the fewest questions marks are Mishriff and Westover. It’s worth noting that Mishriff has to concede the considerable weight-for-age allowance to Westover, which John & Thady Gosden’s charge was unable to do 12 months ago when going down by 1¾l to Adayar.
Read More on Saturday’s King George VI at Ascot
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