A pathetic four runners, representing just two trainers, line up for this year’s King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes over 1m4f on Saturday (3.35pm Ascot on ITV).
It is nevertheless a select field, that includes Enable, the dual winner of this race and heroine of two Prix de l’Arc de Triomphes. The John Gosden trained mare is racing against three horses from the Aidan O’Brien team. The yard’s entries are his 2019 Derby winner, Anthony Van Dyck, last year’s Irish Derby winner, Sovereign, and Japan who won the Group 1 International Stakes at York last August.
With just a quartet declared, there will be no each-way betting with the British bookmakers so this King George preview is looking for a win-only betting tip.
Enable is the favourite and the current best price for the six-year-old is around a fairly skinny 8/15. Frankie Dettori’s mount won the race in 2017 and 2019, aged three and five. The favourite receives three pounds from the colts. As a former winner, Enable has been successful over the course and distance. The horse’s current rating is 128 which gives her a few pounds in hand of the rest of the field according to the official handicapper.
Enable was below par in defeat to Ghaiyyath by two and a quarter lengths in the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown over 10 furlongs at the start of the month. However her trainer had warned beforehand that she was only 80% ready and she will be a lot straighter for this. Nevertheless she stayed on well inside the final furlong and the winner, when on song, is certainly something special. If she improves markedly in this King George, as would be the expectation, then she could be very hard to beat carrying three pounds less than her rivals. The contentious weight concession, due to her gender ‘disadvantage’, has won her races before, for instance in her narrow neck defeat of Crystal Ocean in this race last year.
Enable will be strongly fancied to make history and become the first to win this race three times, just as she was when she failed to repel Waldgeist in the Arc last year. Will this end the same way?
The 3/1 second favourite, Japan, is second best on the ratings with a figure of 122. Ryan Moore is the number one stable jockey and he takes the ride on Japan as the horse looks like O’Brien’s first string. Japan won the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot last year so is also a course and distance winner.
Arguably, Japan produced his best form to date when winning the International Stakes last year at the York Ebor meeting. On historical ratings of the winner and placed horses, it is often the best Flat race in the world. Japan beat Crystal Ocean by a head but as a three-year-old received seven pounds. Enable beat Crystal Ocean by a neck in the King George last year but only received three pounds. Therefore, the collateral form suggests Japan cannot beat Enable giving the same three pounds. She also finished a head in front of Japan when they were both routed by Ghaiyyath at Sandown last time.
The ability and form of the first two in the betting is reflected in the current odds of 12/1 for Anthony Van Dyck to win the race. The 2019 Derby winner was the leading three-year-old colt last season. His current rating of 121 means the horse is closely matched with Japan but can be backed at almost four times the odds. He was two and a half lengths adrift of Ghaiyyath in second place in the Coronation Cup, which compares favourably with Enable’s run in the Eclipse.
The form and rating of Sovereign means the horse must produce a career best to contend and has something to find with the other runners in the field. The Irish Derby win at the Curragh over 12 furlongs earned the horse a OR of 117. However, the six-length defeat of Anthony Van Dyck was more about front-running tactics than being the better horse. Sovereign will struggle to confirm the form and looks booked for fourth place in Saturday’s Ascot feature.
Our Preview’s King George Betting Tips’ Verdict
Ghaiyyath is not running at Ascot on Saturday but could be key to the outcome. The horse beat Enable by two and a quarter lengths in the Eclipse carrying three pounds more and beat Anthony Van Dyck by two and a half lengths off level weights in the Coronation Cup. Enable’s three pounds allowance off Anthony Van Dyck equals out that form but Enable is odds-on and Anthony van Dyck can be backed at 11/1. It’s clear where the betting value lies in the 2020 King George.
- So our King George betting tip is to have a wager on Anthony Van Dyck at current best odds of 12/1 with William Hill.
Compare Latest King George Odds from Top Bookies
|Anthony Van Dyck (non-runner)|
King George Facts & Stats
The King George V1 and Queen Elizabeth Stakes is run over one mile and four furlongs at Ascot Racecourse. It is a Group 1 race for horses aged three and older. Three-year-olds carry 8st 9lbs and horses aged four and older carry 9st 7lbs. Fillies and mares receive an allowance of 3lbs.
The race is the mid-season championship over the middle distance and often brings together the leading horses from the Classic generation and older horses who have been kept in training. Since 2008 there have been five winning favourites of which two were returned at odds-on. The average Official Rating (OR) of the winners over the last 10 years is 121.
The race was first run in 1951 and it is now one of the most important Group races for horses aged three and older. It is one of the first races of the season that tests the ability of the Classic horses against the older generation. Dahlia, Swain and this year’s favourite Enable are the only two-time winners but no horse has won the race three times. Will that change this year? The leading jockey is Lester Piggott with seven wins (1965 to 1984) and the leading trainer is Sir Michael Stoute with six wins (1981 to 2018).