Ante-Post Value – The King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes
At the moment, there’s a distinct lack of Ante-Post races that are being run in the near future so I’ll take an early look at Ascot’s King George VI. Telescope has topped the early markets ever since his devastating 7-length success in the Hardwicke at the Royal meeting and I’m really interested to see how the 4-year-old will fare in his bid for a first top-level success, on what is his first attempt!
Connections were finally rewarded for all of their confidence in the horse when he won the Group 2 last month and the style that he did it in was breathtaking to say the least. Talented animals like Hillstar and Pether’s Moon were miles back in second and third place respectively, and it’s quite clear that the son of Galileo posted a performance worthy of being the outright favourite for this.
However, another thing that’s clear is his massive preference for a quick surface and a solid race-pace – both of which were forthcoming in the Hardwicke – and I highly doubt that he’ll be as happy should there be rain before the card on Saturday week. For all I know, there might be none at all, but he’s beatable if there is and quotes of 7/4 don’t excite a whole lot, not at this stage anyway.
Anything Aidan O’Brien sends is obviously going to warrant a lot of respect and Magician could be Telescope’s biggest danger should the ground turn up rattling quick. He’s another talented 4-year-old colt by Galileo who runs to a very high level on a fast surface, as shown by his Breeders’ Cup Turf win last November, and he’ll be arriving on the back of something close to a career-best, having finished 1.75-lengths behind The Fugue over 1m 2f in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot. There are a few reasons to suggest that he can show up every bit as well in the King George, not least because he’s stepping back up to 1m 4f, a trip he clearly gets well. The question is whether he’ll get a race run to suit as it all went perfectly for him last time out (likes plenty of pace), yet he found one too good, and general quotes of 11/4 don’t leave much room for errors. I’m inclined to swerve.
A few days ago, I didn’t think I’d have the chance to do this, but I’m going to side with Epsom Oaks winner Taghrooda at 7/2. The 3-year-old daughter of Sea The Stars looked all set to go for an Oaks double in the Irish edition this weekend and it’s quite a shock to see that she won’t be doing exactly that (would’ve had a handy task). However, connections are doing the sporting thing by putting her up against the lads, and horses of all ages, and that’s a big hint in itself. She will be getting lumps of weight from the others, thanks to the age and sex allowances, and that may put the ball firmly in her course if she’s as good as the Epsom success would suggest. I personally think that she has it all and although getting the better of the above mentioned duo will be difficult, I can’t help but get away from the fact that she’ll be in receipt of 15lbs from them. Whether she’s much value at the current odds is another question altogether (the question, based on the name of the article, I’m supposed to know the answer of!) but I’m happy enough to have a small play for the time being.
Selection for the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes (3:50 Ascot; Saturday, 26th July):
Taghrooda – 7/2, available with a few firms.
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