Gary McKenzie is a devoted fan of Ascot’s midsummer extravaganza
I have always loved the King George. Apart from the Arc, I think this was the race I most looked forward to each flat season. The best of each generation fighting it out over 12 furlongs. And I have had my fair share of luck in this race. Since backing Harbinger in 2010 I have had a further four winners and a couple of runners up.
Westover is today’s favourite for the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes following his demolition job in the Irish Derby. He was unlucky in the Epsom Derby before that, where he would surely have been closer to the winner with a clear run.
Emily Upjohn got the worst possible start in the Oaks and did amazingly well to finish so close to Tuesday. That filly was well beaten by Westover at the Curragh but Nashwa gave the form a boost in France next time. They look closely matched.
It has to be said that only six three year olds have won the King George this century. Five of them, however, have won either an Oaks or Derby. So both have the profile for this.
Broome and Pyledriver both have the ability to win this. Broome won the Hardwicke last time but was only fourth here last year.
Pyledriver has not won since last years Coronation Cup (second in the same race this season) but all of his turf wins have been at decent prices. Not one to be underestimated.
Torquator Tasso ran half a stone better than before, according to ratings, when winning last seasons Arc. Take out that run and he is consistenly running around 118 which doesn’t look good enough in this line up. Add in the fact that he is running on quick ground for the first time and I can’t have him. I think his big target is in Paris in October.
So that just leaves MISHRIFF. He was unlucky last time when not getting a clear run in the closing stages of the Eclipse. He was also a bit tardy out of the stalls, which was also a problem in the Champion Stakes last season.
He did win the Juddmonte in impressive fashion and I think he is even better over this trip if the ground is on the fast side. He was second here last year behind Adayar and, if he can run to that form, he has a massive chance. James Doyle rides for the first time.
TACTICAL looked unlucky over course and distance at the Royal meeting and could gain compensation in the Moet & Chandon International Stakes. He is 1lb lower here. He beat Naval Crown last year, and defeats behind Creative Force and Baaeed are no disgrace.
In the Princess Margaret Keeneland Stakes, Lezoo sets the standard. She has only been beaten once in three runs, in the Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes.
But I like KINTA for this. She has only run on the all weather, but she has won both starts without being all out. This is a step up in class but her trainer must have some optimism for improvement.
Finally I am with KIND GESTURE in the Longines Valiant Stakes. She was a wide margin winner last time and if she can continue her improvement she could go close in a pretty warm renewal.
It is Glorious Goodwood next week so it would be nice to top up the betting bank.
Good Luck All