It is day two of the Qipco King George Weekend at Ascot on Saturday and the Group One King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes takes centre stage and what a renewal it is. Enable, Crystal Ocean and Anthony Van Dyck all line-up for what should be a cracker. Following the second hottest day ever here in the UK, it has been tipping down at Triple G Towers on Friday morning! Ascot missed most of it but some rain is forecast Saturday as well so you can expect the ground to ease from good-firm to good.
I have had four bets for Saturday and I will start at Ascot. I am a bit of an old romantic at heart and I fancy Summer Romance to get me off to a winning start in the 6f Group Three Princess Margaret Keeneland Stakes at 1.50. Two runs, two wins for Charlie Appleby and James Doyle, she created a good impression when readily winning on debut over 6f at Yarmouth and confirmed that by winning a 6f Listed contest at Newmarket by 6l next time out. She is plenty short enough at Evens but looks likely to be competing at a higher level still as the summer comes to an end.
At 3.15 up at York, they have the 1m2½f Group Two Sky Bet York Stakes with some nice ones lining-up. The word soft in the going would have enhanced the chances of Addeybb but he looks up against it off the back of the heatwave as even with the rain we have had I doubt it will be proper soft. Regal Reality is a colt I have talked of before this year, backed him when he won at Sandown in may, and this looks a good opportunity for him having been third to Enable (more on her later) in the Coral-Eclipse. I missed the 3-1 that was bout earlier in the week but do have the 13-8.
At 3.40 down at Ascot, it is the big one the Group One 1m4f King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes. Enable is, of course, looking to become only the third horse to win the mid-summer showpiece twice. Dahlia (1973-74) and Swain (1997-98) were successful in consecutive years, Gosden’s dual Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe heroine has to regain the crown she won in 2017 having not competed in the race last year. Speaking at a press morning at Newmarket this week the trainer said: “At Sandown, I thought she ran a lovely race. Frankie (Dettori) popped himself in the correct position, and she probably won with a little bit in hand. The Eclipse is close enough, but you are getting three weeks. We’ve been pleased with her since then, and she has just done routine work. She worked on Saturday with Frankie on her. We were going to go on the grass – but we didn’t get enough rain, so we breezed on the all-weather. She seems happy and well for what is a tall order.” I have a bit of the 4-6 as I think she is a class act. Crystal Ocean is obviously in fine fettle but has to give the mare 3lb which makes his job that little harder. Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck takes on the older generation for the first time and the 3yo colt gets plenty of weight so has to be considered a big danger but he hasn’t met a horse like Enable yet. The quality of the field is backed-up by the fact Group One winners Defoe and Andre Fabre trained Waldgeist can be backed at double-figure odds. There is further international interest in the form of Japanese raider Cheval Grand.
Al Dabaran looked like one to keep an eye on when a decent winner of 7f novice stakes at Newmarket in June on his debut. He goes in the Listed 7f Wooldridge Group Pat Eddery Stakes at 4.15 at Ascot and I think he looks like another winner for Appleby and Doyle. He is likely to be fairly short as well I fear and I will grab the best price I can when the satchel swingers chalk-up.
As the four selections for Saturday are all short-priced ones you might want to try a Danny Devito – a little Yankee :o)
On Sunday there is the chance to spin up some of the Saturday winnings (all being well) as over the Channel at Deauville they host the Group One Prix Rothschild over the straight mile due off at 2.50. Laurens makes the trip and is strongly fancied to get back to winning ways in the fillies and mares only race. She has been set a couple of hard tasks this year and should prove too good for this line-up, I have a bit of the 2-1.