The King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes from Ascot is the weekend racing highlight and we have a terrific renewal of this most valuable and prestigious 12 furlong mid-summer contest. Having backed Melbourne Cup winner Dunaden at Royal Ascot last time I felt he was very unlucky not to finish an awful lot closer to Sea Moon in the Hardwicke Stakes and there shouldn’t be much between the pair on Saturday.
There is plenty of pace in the race with Robin Hood likely to act as a pacemaker for St Nicholas Abbey, who is at his best on good or faster ground, and any further significant rain would be a concern for the Ballydoyle charge.
The 2011 Arc winner Danedream was bitterly disappointing at Saint-Cloud last time and is readily overlooked despite the fact that she has been very well backed earlier in the week from 12s into 9/1 at BetVictor.
Nathaniel landed the Eclipse a fortnight ago and also won an unsatisfactory renewal of the King George 12 months ago; he had to dig deep at Sandown two weeks ago and there must be the chance that will have left its mark. That said the step back up in trip will suit and he must go close but I think Sea Moon and Dunanden (4.35) will fight out the finish and the latter gets the nod.King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes; prices from BetVictor
Sea Moon 11/4
St Nicholas Abbey 11/4
Toronado (2.10) impressed on debut at Newbury in a race that often throws up a decent sort and he is likely to be all the rage to maintain his unbeaten record in the 7f Listed race for Richard Hannon and Richard Hughes.
I am really looking forward to seeing Her Majesty The Queen’s Carlton House (3.20) revert to a mile for the first time since his juvenile days; he was no match for So You Think in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes last time but travelled well at the Royal meeting and faces nothing of the calibre of So You Think on his return to Ascot at the weekend.
Bonnie Brae turned the Bunbury Cup into a procession at Newmarket last weekend signalling a return to form for the yard of David Elsworth; she has a cracking chance of following up in the International Stakes but at a bigger price I am keen on the chances of Excellent Guest (non runner due to the soft ground at Newmarket) and Noble Citizen (3.55) and the hope is the latter can reward each way support at 20/1 (BetVictor) with Martin Lane taking over in the saddle; Lane won a valuable 6f handicap on the horse over 6f here last year and David Simcock’s 7-y-o has finished 3rd (2011) and 2nd (2010) in the corresponding race in the last couple of years.
Roxelana (8.45) looks ready for a step up in trip to 10f for the first time in Lingfield’s finale having got going too late at Goodwood last time; Jimmy Fortune was in the saddle when the selection landed her maiden over a mile here back in February so the switch back to polytrack holds no terrors. There are a number of the big yards in opposition and Stoute’s Lashyn looks well handicapped having landed her maiden on only her second start over C&D and Buzkashi ran an eye-catching race on her reappearance at Sandown having her first start for David Lanigan.
There is a terrific summer jumps card at Market Rasen and Tim Vaughan may hold the key to the Summer Hurdle as he saddles both Caravel and Solaras Exhibition (2.50) who fought out the finish at Ffos Las back in June; the latter can confirm the form on 6lb worse terms.
Paul Nicholls doesn’t have many horses in training at this stage of the season but he saddles a couple in the Summer Plate and Spock (3.25) has always promised to make into a better chaser than hurdler and can take a fascinating renewal.