Horse Racing tips: Saturday’s King George will tell us how good Auguste Rodin is

Timeform have 3 to follow for Saturday's mega Ascot card.

Auguste Rodin


With the first two from the Derby lining up against a host of top older horses, this year’s King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes is just the sort of clash of the generations Britain’s top all-aged middle-distance contest is designed to be. That means a proper test of how good Derby winner Auguste Rodin is, especially as he’s been drawn widest of all in stall 11.

Auguste Rodin had only half a length to spare at Epsom over runner-up King of Steel, he too confirming himself a potentially top-class colt, after being sent off at huge odds in the Derby, when winning the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot. Auguste Rodin has also won since Epsom, making heavy weather of landing the odds in the Irish Derby, but a more truly-run race can bring about further improvement in him.

The Derby one-two aren’t the only pair meeting again. The first two from the Coronation Cup, Emily Upjohn and Westover, lock horns again, and both of those have served further reminders since that they’re a lot better than they showed in this race last year, Emily Upjohn finding only Auguste Rodin’s top-class stablemate Paddington too good in the Eclipse and Westover running right up to his best in winning the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud.

It was Pyledriver who caused a surprise in last year’s King George when Emily Upjohn and Westover both underperformed and he again showed he’s not to be underestimated over Ascot’s mile and a half when winning a messy edition of the Hardwicke Stakes at the royal meeting last month. Hukum, who’d beaten Derby winner Desert Crown on his reappearance in the Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown, was withdrawn from the Hardwicke because of the good to firm ground but he’s another involved in a rematch here as he’d beaten Pyledriver convincingly in last year’s Coronation Cup, sustaining a leg injury in the process.

With a horse as good as Auguste Rodin’s high-class older stablemate Luxembourg a relative outsider in this line-up despite being a Group 1 winner himself just two starts ago in the Tattersalls Gold Cup, that shows the strength in depth of what should be a tremendous race.

Drop in class will suit My Prospero

My Prospero holds an entry in the Juddmonte International over the same course and distance next month and William Haggas’ high-class four-year-old will likely be worthy of his place back in the highest grade before too long. But in the meantime, the York Stakes gives him his best chance of getting his head in front for the first time since landing another Group 2 contest, the Prix Eugene Adam at Saint-Cloud, around this time last year.

My Prospero then ended his three-year-old campaign with the best effort of his career when only beaten half a length into third behind Bay Bridge and Adayar in the Champion Stakes at Ascot. While he made an encouraging return over a mile to finish fourth in the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury, My Prospero didn’t make the anticipated progress back over the course and distance of his best run when only fourth to Mostahdaf in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot last month. That was a strong renewal, though, and there’s a chance softer conditions at York might suit My Prospero too as there was some give in the ground when he ran so well at Ascot last year.

The other Juddmonte International entry Alfaila looks My Prospero’s chief rival on form though this will be his first time at the trip and he’s making a belated reappearance for Owen Burrows. But he won four times last year, including the Strensall Stakes at York’s Ebor meeting, and signed off with a high-class effort in the Darley Stakes at Newmarket. Royal Champion, winner of the competitive Wolferton Stakes at Royal Ascot, and Mashoor, who completed a hat-trick in Ireland in a Group 3 contest at the Curragh last time, are an in-form pair, while underfoot conditions should suit outsider Checkandchallenge.

Soft ground key to Baradar’s chance in International Stakes

Ascot’s International Stakes over seven furlongs is the big betting race on the King George card and George Boughey has two shots at the big prize with handicappers who can both be expected to improve on their efforts here at the Royal meeting. The unseasonably soft ground is good news in particular for Baradar who wasn’t suited by the firmer going in last month’s Buckingham Palace Stakes over course and distance but has been dropped 1lb since by the handicapper. Baradar had shaped well on softer ground in his first two starts this year when third in the Lincoln at Doncaster and shaping a lot better than the bare result, after meeting trouble in running, when sixth, over course and distance again, in the Victoria Cup in May.

Stablemate Spangled Mac finished in front of Baradar last time when fourth in the Buckingham Palace, finishing with energy on his first start since Dubai early in the year. He was then turned out just two days later for the Wokingham where he again shaped well enough in finishing a close eighth to think that he’s capable of winning off his current mark, he too having been dropped 1lb since his last run.

But given the huge field there are no shortage of dangers. Vafortino met trouble in the Buckingham Palace but he has a good record over Ascot’s 7f, winning last year’s Victoria Cup and finishing third in the same contest this year.

He looks well handicapped judged on his short-head defeat at York a fortnight ago to the Buckingham Palace third Northern Express who picks up a penalty for that win. Victoria Cup runner-up Biggles fared best of those drawn low in the Buckingham Palace and has since won the Bunbury Cup at Newmarket in which last year’s winner of that contest, Bless Him, ran his best race of the season to finish fourth. Reunited with regular partner Jamie Spencer here, Bless Him was only beaten a short head by Fresh (back to form when fifth in the Wokingham last time) off the same mark in this race 12 months ago.

*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.



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