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Full guide to the King George possibles

18 Jul 2016

We put the ten five-day entries for the midsummer showpiece under the spotlight

Wings of Desire

Wings Of Desire will seek to give John Gosden a third  winner of the King George. Picture: Racingfotos.com

Need a helping hand to find the winner of the King George at Ascot on Saturday? Here’s a guide to those left in the £1.15 million contest, sponsored by QIPCO and part of the QIPCO British Champions Series.

POSTPONED (Trainer: Roger Varian. Ruled out of the race on Wednesday)

DARTMOUTH (Sir Michael Stoute. General odds: 7/4)

Owned by The Queen. Had an official rating of 89 and was contesting handicaps at this time last year, but steadily progressive and took his form to a new level when edging out Highland Reel by a head in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot last time. The softish ground brought his stamina into play that day  (proven over an extended 1m5f) and the rider of the runner-up also dropped his whip a quarter of a mile from home, so not certain to confirm that form.

HIGHLAND REEL (Aidan O’Brien. 5/2)

Globetrotter won the Hong Kong Vase from Flintshire last December, having previously landed the Grade One Secretariat Stakes by more than five lengths at Arlington Park. Rider dropped whip when edged out by Dartmouth in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot last time and connections will fancy their chances of turning the tables on a faster surface.

WINGS OF DESIRE (John Gosden. 7/2)

Unraced as a two-year-old, but quickly making up for lost time this term. Pounced from off the pace when beating Deauville, the subsequent Belmont Derby winner, in the Dante Stakes at York in May and might have been unsuited by tacky ground/undulating track when fourth to Harzand in the Derby. Entitled to improve further and no surprise if he makes a bold bid to avenge the nose defeat that Postponed inflicted on Eagle Top, his brother and stablemate, in last year’s King George.

ERUPT (Francis-Henri Graffard. 7/2)

Looked good in winning his first four starts last year and not disgraced when under four lengths fifth to Golden Horn in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp last autumn, or when a close sixth in the Japan Cup afterwards. Below-par on heavy ground on his return but much more like it when runner-up to Silverwave in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud last time. The French challenger should make his presence felt if in similar heart.

SIR ISAAC NEWTON (Aidan O’Brien. 16/1)

Three odds-on defeats a blemish on his record and was in danger of becoming really disappointing before putting best foot forward past two starts. Won the Wolferton Handicap in good style at Royal Ascot over a mile and a quarter (off 102) and followed up eight days later over the same trip in a Group Three at the Curragh. Would have plenty more on his plate, though, and not certain to appreciate stepping up to a mile and a half.  His sister, Secret Gesture, was at her best over ten furlongs.

WESTERN HYMN (John Gosden. 16/1)

Consistent performer in good company (placed three times in Group One contests). Rare below-par effort in the Coral-Eclipse latest and usually races over a mile and a quarter, though trip did not seem an issue when sixth in the Derby a couple of years ago. Others look stronger.

SECOND STEP (Luca Cumani. 25/1)

Group One winner in Germany last summer but that was almost a year ago and is without a success since. Well-beaten fifth (beaten seven and a half lengths) behind easy winner Postponed in the Coronation Cup at Epsom in June, and not at best when filling the same place (beaten a similar distance) to Big Orange at Newmarket latest. Up against it.

SHOGUN (Aidan O’Brien. 33/1)

Won a 7f maiden at the Curragh this time last year, but that remains his sole success from ten starts. Beat one home in the Derby and since been well held in Irish version as well. Probably set the pace for stablemate Highland Reel if taking his chance.

AJMAN BRIDGE (Roger Varian. 50/1)

Useful performer who was runner-up in the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes at Royal Ascot last summer. Not at best in two starts this term, though, and the intention had been to deploy him as a pacemaker for stablemate Postponed.