The King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes is the mid-season championship for horses aged three and older. The race at Ascot is over one mile and four furlongs and aims to bring together the best of the Classic generation and older horses. As a Group 1 contest there are weight-for-age allowances and fillies carry less weight than colts. There is an argument for each horse carrying the same weight because the race would identify the best horse but the age and gender allowances have passed the test of time.
Enable won the race by four and a half lengths last year. The outcome was never in doubt and the horse had plenty in hand. However, as a three-year-old filly Enable carried a full stone less than the runner-up, Ulysses, who was a colt aged five. Enable beat some good horses impressively but was thrown in at the weights. In fact off level weights the horse would have been in the mix. Connections have to take advantage of race conditions but 14 pounds in hand seems excessive.
Female horses receive weight in the Grade 1 National Hunt races. Annie Power won the Champion Hurdle in 2016. She carried seven pounds less than My Tent Or Yours and that horse was less than five lengths adrift in second place. Clearly Annie Power and Enable were top class and the best amongst their sex and female horses don’t have the same physicality as male horses. However, championship races should identify the best horses and weight concessions muddy the waters.
Treve won the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in 2013 and 2014 as a three-year-old and four-year-old. The race conditions were in her favour and receiving weight on reflection the horse could not be beat. Saturday’s race is missing some of the best Classic horses and an older horse should win the race. Kew Gardens has the best chance of the horses aged three and carries 11 pounds less than the older colts. Rostropovich is a much bigger price than the Aidan O’Brien stablemate and is the each-way alternative to the market leaders.
Cracksman would have a great chance on his best form. However, the horse has not been at his best this season and trainer, John Gosden, says his horse will show his true ability in the autumn. However, Cracksman does not owe his connections a penny and another underperforming run could see the horse retired. It would take a great effort to come back and be competitive in the Arc if Cracksman failed to deliver again. It’s tempting to give Cracksman another chance and the latest odds look appealing.
Coronet would have a better chance with the regular jockey on board but Frankie Dettori will be serving a ban on Saturday. The three outsiders have too much to find on all known form so the race looks like a match between Crystal Ocean and Poet’s Word. At the time of writing the bookmakers could not split them and they could start the race as joint favourites which tallies with their current ratings. At the best odds it’s a combined price of 4/6 for the pair providing the winner.
The two favourites carry 9 stones and 7lds so give weight to the female runners and the horses aged three. The leading three-year-old colts are not running so the older horses can concede the weight to their younger rivals. Crystal Ocean was second in the St Leger last season and Classic form is the best on offer. The horse is more proven at this level than Poet’s Word and that can be the deciding factor so Crystal Ocean is the tip to win the King George V1 and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.