ASCOT, BERKSHIRE, ENGLAND – Enable and Cheval Grand are two of 11 contenders at the five-day confirmation stage today for Saturday’s King George VI & Queen Elizabeth QIPCO Stakes (G1).
Enable captured the 12-furlong midsummer highlight in 2017 during a glittering three-year-old campaign that saw her win five G1 races in a row, but she was unable to defend her crown last year due to injury.
The dual Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1) heroine made a successful reappearance this year in the 10-furlong Coral-Eclipse (G1) at Sandown Park on July 6, when pushed out to win by three parts of a length from old rival Magical.
Saturday offers Enable the chance to become the third two-time winner of the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth QIPCO Stakes and the first this century, following Dahlia (1973 & 1974) and Swain (1997 & 1998). The King George VI & Queen Elizabeth QIPCO Stakes is part of the QIPCO British Champions Series.
Speaking on the Warren Hill gallops during a press event in Newmarket this morning, Champion trainer John Gosden said: “Enable has been in good form since Sandown. I thought she ran a lovely race there. Frankie had her in the correct position and she won with a bit in hand.
“She was coming off an eight-month break. She did not go for a racecourse gallop beforehand and did all of her work here in Newmarket. I would say it wasn’t until we got her on a gallop she likes, the round gallop on Limekilns, that she showed her zest and old spark.”
The other older horses still engaged are headed by last year’s neck runner-up Crystal Ocean (Sir Michael Stoute, 5/2 with Betfred), runner-up last year and successful in G1 company at Royal Ascot in last month’s 10-furlong Prince of Wales’s Stakes (G1).
Another winner from Royal Ascot is Defoe (Roger Varian), 12/1, with the five-year-old having scored over Saturday’s course and distance in the Hardwicke Stakes (G2) on June 22. Defoe is already a G1 winner in 2019, having taken the Coronation Cup at Epsom on May 31.
Hurricane Run was the latest French-trained King George winner in 2006 and his trainer Andre Fabre is represented in 2019 by Waldgeist (16/1), third behind Crystal Ocean at Royal Ascot, having won the Prix Ganay (G1) impressively on his seasonal reappearance.
Heading the three-year-old challenge is Investec Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck (Aidan O’Brien, 6/1), bidding to become the first Derby victor to land the Ascot showpiece since his sire Galileo in 2001. Anthony Van Dyck’s stable companion and Irish Derby (G1) third Norway (100/1) is the other three-year-old still engaged. Ireland’s champion Flat trainer has also left in likely pacesetter Hunting Horn (100/1) and Magic Wand (50/1), who recorded her biggest victory in the 2018 Ribblesdale Stakes (G1) at the Royal Meeting.
Completing the confirmations are Hardwicke Stakes fourth Morando (Andrew Balding, 66/1) and Salouen (Sylvester Kirk, 50/1), fourth in 2018 and successful over the course and distance in the Listed Carey Group Buckhounds Stakes in May.
King George VI & Queen Elizabeth QIPCO Stakes – Betfred prices:
4/6 Enable; 5/2 Crystal Ocean; 6/1 Anthony Van Dyck; 12/1 Defoe; 16/1 Waldgeist; 25/1 Cheval Grand; 50/1 Magic Wand, Salouen; 66/1 Morando; 100/1 Norway, Hunting Horn
Each-way 1/5 odds, 1-2-3