Weekend racing preview: King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes the highlight at Ascot

One of the midsummer highlights in the racing calendar headlines the weekend horse racing action with the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth QIPCO Stakes the feature event at Ascot.

By SBK
Friday, 22nd July 2022, 2:40 pm
Updated Friday, 22nd July 2022, 2:40 pm

A roll of honour which includes the likes of Nijinsky, Mill Reef, Brigadier Gerard, Dancing Brave, Montjeu, Galileo, Harbinger, Enable and 12 months ago Adayar, six runners go to post for this year’s renewal which gets underway at 3.35pm.

We have previewed the race and the pick of the racing action with our guide below and you can find the best odds on the SBK Sportsbook App.

The £1.25 million 12-furlong King George VI and Queen Elizabeth QIPCO Stakes (3.35pm) has six runners which are headed by recent Irish Derby hero Westover for Ralph Beckett. An unlucky third in the Derby, he went two places better in the Irish equivalent with a brilliant display in which he powered to a seven-length victory over Piz Badile.

Action from Ascot. Photo: Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

He is a middle-distance three-year-old who is improving all the time and he crucially gets 9lb from his main rivals as he looks to emulate Adayar who also tasted success in this race 12 months ago as a three-year-old. Colin Keane retains the ride on the son of Frankel and he does look hard to oppose in this event given he should be suited by having to either make his own running or if this turns into a tactical sprint.

Emily Upjohn is a fascinating runner given she gets upwards of 12lb from her rivals and she comes into the race having suffered a narrow reverse in the Oaks at Epsom. Having stumbled following leaving the stalls in the fillies’ Classic, she powered home under Frankie Dettori, but was denied by a short-head with Tuesday coming out on top. Originally set to run in last weekend’s Irish Oaks, she has been rerouted to the King George after her flight was cancelled and she should clearly play a leading role in this event.

Mishriff is another interesting runner who is ridden by James Doyle for the first time following the ending of relations between owner Prince Faisal and David Egan. The five-year-old was brilliant in last year’s Juddmonte International, but struggled in the Champion Stakes when fourth, before finishing last as he attempted to defend his Saudi Cup crown. However, he bounced right back to form in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown last time out when he was arguably unlucky to lose having met trouble in running, before staying on strongly for second, beaten just a neck. However, 10 furlongs seems to be his best trip and he needs to show his true effectiveness over this 12 furlong trip.

One of the most fascinating runners is the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe hero Torquator Tasso. He was a stunning winner of the famous race at Longchamp in October, but disappointed on his return to action at Baden-Baden in May. However, he roared back to form with a dominant display in Group Two company at Hamburg last time out, but he would prefer the ground to be softer. Broome was fourth in this race last year for Aidan O’Brien, but he highlighted his wellbeing with a smooth win in the Hardwicke at Royal Ascot and he would be a danger if getting his own way in front, whilst Pyledriver completes the field. He was second in the Coronation Cup at Epsom last time out, but remains of interest in what promises to be a thrilling renewal of the famous race.

Elsewhere on the card, Lezoo makes a quick turnaround in the opening Princess Margaret Keeneland Stakes, a Group Three event over six furlongs at 1.50pm. Second in the Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes earlier this month, she is the one to beat, but faces a host of unexposed rivals, including the unbeaten Kinta and debut scorers Glenlaurel, Royal Charter and Palm Lily.

In the Longines Valiant Stakes over a mile at 2.25pm, Zanbaq looks to build on a second-placed finish in the Sandringham at Royal Ascot in which she thundered home, but she takes on Jumbly who has struggled in the French and German 1000 Guineas this term and looks a danger dropped back in class back on domestic shores.

Over at York, the highlight is the York Stakes at 3.15pm. Claymore heads the five runners having scored in great style in the Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot last time out. He remains open to stacks of improvement and takes on the progressive who completed a hat-trick last term, with a brace of Group victories to boot. Second in the Champion Stakes in October, he went on to finish fourth in the Hong Kong Cup and he should build on his comeback effort when 10th in the Sheema Classic and he is therefore an interesting name to note on an excellent weekend of racing action for punters to enjoy.

ITV Racing selections

1.50pm Ascot - Breege

2.05pm York - Val De Travers

2.25pm Ascot - Jumbly

2.40pm York - Gale Force Maya

3.00pm Ascot - Dark Shift

3.15pm York - Claymore

3.35pm Ascot - Westover