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King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes from Ascot looks a cracker

July 21, 2012

Having followed international racing fairly closely for the last six months, attending some of the major meetings, tonight’s Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (12f/a2400m) from Ascot looks a beauty – a race any fan of the sport should follow closely.

The race has been won by some of the best gallopers in Europe since its inaugural running in 1951, including Ribot, Ballymoss, Nijinsky, Mill Reef, Brigadier Gerard, Shergar, Dancing Brave, Swain, Montjeu and Galileo.

There may be only 10 runners set to line up, but they include the winners of the Melbourne Cup and Hong Kong Vase (Dunaden), the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Danedream), the Coronation Cup and the Breeders’ Cup Turf (St Nicholas Abbey), the English St Leger (Masked Marvel), the Japanese Derby (Deep Brillante) and the Eclipse Stakes (Nathaniel).

Other runners include dominant Royal Ascot winner Sea Moon, the immensely promising Brown Panther, the inconsistent Reliable Man and likely pacemaker Robin Hood.

It is a very good field featuring some of the middle distance horses in the world. In fact, it could be argued, the only horses that would really enhance the lineup are Epsom Derby winner Camelot, heading to the English St Leger, and perhaps So You Think, retired to stud. However, So You Think is probably not at his best in a European 12 furlong race.

It is very hard to know which way to go here. Nathaniel is favourite off the back of his gutsy win in the Eclipse Stakes, and he did win this race as a three year old last year. Set to challenge him for favourite is Sea Moon, a four length winner of the Hardwicke Stakes over this track and distance at Royal Ascot last month.

St Nicholas Abbey is quirky but he’s a horse who always seems to do well in his grand finals. He’s also well in the market, as is Dunaden. Proving how open the race is, Danedream is the fifth runner under double figures, despite disappointing first up.

However, statistics indicate that it is a race which ideally suits three year olds. There is just the one three year old running this year – Deep Brillante, who won the Japanese Derby in late May. It was far from an impressive win, the son of champion Japanese stayer Deep Impact falling in by a nose. But given he had to cart the field up to two clear frontrunners, I thought there was enough merit in the win to suggest he could be competitive here.

Most importantly, I think the English style of racing should suit him. Therefore, I’m going for Deep Brillante to beat St Nicholas Abbey, with the parochial Australian in me throwing last year’s Melbourne Cup winner Dunaden in for third.

Personally, I’d love to see Dunaden run top three so that he tackles the Arc. I’d love to see a Melbourne Cup winner go on to win the Arc, as it would demonstrate how far the race has come. Also, he has the services of top Australian jockey Craig Williams, who won the Geelong Cup on him last year.

Tune in at 1:35am AEST to see what promises to be a cracking contest.

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