Weekend racing preview: Love chases King George glory at Ascot

Ascot plays host to a classic renewal of the £875,000 King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes on Saturday afternoon where Love takes on Derby hero Adayar in a race to savour.

Friday, 23rd July 2021, 3:48 pm
Ryan Moore aboard Love at Royal Ascot. Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
Ryan Moore aboard Love at Royal Ascot. Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

The contest is live at 3.35pm from Ascot on ITV Racing and we have previewed the six-runner event with our ITV Racing tips.

The 11/8 favourite for the 12-furlong highlight is Love who bids to give the master of Ballydoyle Aidan O’Brien a fourth win in the contest. One of the superstars of 2020, Love captured the 2000 Guineas, Oaks and Yorkshire Oaks in a golden summer. The four-year-old daughter of Galileo returned to action with a game three-quarter length success in the G1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot, finding plenty on the run for home to score. That performance can be marked up further, given that was her first run of the year and quick ground conditions to suit, she makes plenty of appeal to record a sixth Group One victory.

One person who is looking forward to the return of Love is ITV Racing’s Chris Hughes who believes she is the one to beat. Speaking at the launch of National Racehorse Week which takes place between September 12-19, he said: “I think Love’s performance in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes was very impressive. It was her first run of the season and she showed real heart and desire to keep finding for pressure and score. She is such an exciting filly.”

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Her main market rival is Godolphin’s Adayar (2/1) who bids to become the 11th horse since the 1970s to complete the Derby-King George. Trained by Charlie Appleby, Adayar powered clear in fine style to score at Epsom and also crucially gets weight from his principal rivals in this event which could prove crucial. However, he would become just the second horse this century to complete the Derby-King George double after Galileo in 2001.

The other three-year-old in the line-up is Lone Eagle who is set to be ridden by Frankie Dettori for trainer Martyn Meade. A 5/1 shot for the 12-furlong event Lone Eagle was a fine second when narrowly beaten by Hurricane Lane in the Irish Derby at the Curragh on his latest start. He too benefits from a weight allowance and is interesting if able to get an easy lead.

Mishriff (8/1) represents John and Thady Gosden and has enjoyed a fine start to 2020, winning the richest race in the world, the $20 million Saudi Cup, before following up with glory in the Dubai Sheema Classic at Dubai. However, the four-year-old was only third in the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown last time out and he will need to step up again to win this event.

Wonderful Tonight (12/1) represents Sussex trainer Wonderful Tonight and returned to action with a stunning win in the Hardwicke Stakes last time out in which she beat Broome (25/1) at Royal Ascot. She is a danger, but would prefer softer ground, whilst Broome tasted Group One success last time out, but looks booked for a pacemaker role for Love in this event.

Elsewhere on Saturday, the Princess Margaret Keeneland Stakes (1.50pm) at Ascot features the progressive System (5/2) who defeated Desert Dreamer (11/4) at Newmarket last time out, with the pair renewing their rivalry in this event.

Over at York, the highlight is the York Stakes in which Mohaafeth chases a fourth successive victory this term for William Haggas. He was successful at Royal Ascot last time out and takes on another Royal Ascot winner in Juan Elcano. However, the joker in the pack is Armory who finished a good third to Love in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes last time out and could be suited by this small field in the 10-furlong which is off at 3.15pm live on the Knavesmire.

ITV Racing selections

1.50pm Ascot: Desert Dreamer

2.05pm York: Secretinthepark

2.25pm York: Guru

2.40pm York: Golden Apollo

3.00pm Ascot: Matthew Flinders

3.15pm York: Armory

3.35pm Ascot: Love