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Highland Reel heads sweet 16 left in King George

24 Jul 2017

Six-time Group One winner set to face his brother, Idaho, when defending his crown at Ascot

Highland Reel returns to the winner’s enclosure after his win in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes last month. Picture:

Highland Reel heads the 16 five-day confirmations for the QIPCO-sponsored King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.

Britain’s premier all-aged middle-distance contest, which carries prize money of £1,150,000, takes place over a mile and a half and forms part of the Middle Distance category of the QIPCO British Champions Series.

Successful by a length and a quarter in the 2016 renewal, Highland Reel is bidding to become only the third dual winner of the King George following Dahlia (1973-1974) and Swain (1997-1998).

The six-time Group One winner put up a typically tenacious display when winning the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot last month.

Aidan O’Brien, seeking a fifth win in the Ascot highlight and a ninth success in this year’s Champions Series, has also left in Highland Reel’s brother, Idaho, victorious over the course and distance last time out in the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes plus Johannes Vermeer and US Army Ranger.

Enable could attempt to emulate Pawneese (1976) and Taghrooda (2014) and become only the the third filly to complete the Investec Oaks-King George double. Enable added to her Epsom Classic success with a comfortable victory last time out in the Irish Oaks on July 15.

A final decision on her participation at Ascot on Saturday is expected on Wednesday.

John Gosden, the trainer of Enable, could also be represented by Jack Hobbs, who is one of five entries for Godolphin. Hawkbill, Frontiersman, Benbatl and Maverick Wave complete their quintet.

Ulysses, the Coral-Eclipse winner, and Permian also figure among the entries, while history will be created with the first South American-trained King George runner set to line up in the shape of Sixties Song, trained by Alfredo Dassie in Argentina.

Purchase tickets for the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes here