The unfortunate defection of Postponed for Saturday’s showpiece King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot has left the door open to a new name on the long list of great horses to have won this top middle-distance race.
The market has adjusted and the Queen’s horse Dartmouth is now the favourite, having been supplemented for the race a few days ago by Sir Michael Stoute. Is this improving four-year-old the one to bet? Well he has won his last three races and the son of Dubawi is perfectly entitled to keep on improving. The Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot was a truly ran race and he battled well to deny Highland Reel, whose rider lost his whip in the closing stages and is set to re-oppose here for Ballydoyle. There isn’t much between the pair and it’s difficult to split them, but perhaps Dartmouth has more scope to improve and looks to be on an obvious upward curve.
The horse to back at the prices however looks to be John Gosden’s Dante Stakes winner WINGS OF DESIRE, who was last seen finishing a fine fourth in the Investec Derby at Epsom. On the day he ran below the form of his Dante win and looked a bit one-paced, but equally he is still a baby and is entitled to show improvement now at a slightly later stage of the season. He skipped Royal Ascot and the Irish Derby for a tilt at this and it could prove to be a stroke of genius from Gosden, considering how the race has cut up now and especially with the hefty 12lb weight-for-age allowance Wings Of Desire receives from older rivals.
Frankie Dettori rides Ascot like no other jockey in the world and he will be gunning to land another big win on his most favourite stage of them all. He is very much a man for the big day and they don’t come much bigger than King George day in July. It promises to be an outstanding afternoon of flat racing action, hopefully we can trust Frankie, Gosden and Wings Of Desire to get the job done.