Friday, July 28, 2017

King George - A blooming rose among the thorns

What a terrific line-up for the King George! Top-drawer names make this contest wide open and the soft conditions could be the deciding factor in determining the winner. First, let's remove the wheat from the chaff; Desert Encounter, Maverick Wave, My Dream Boat and Sixties Song could aspire to places but it is difficult fathoming any of them coming out on top.

Highland Reel is Mr Exemplary who rarely runs a bad race. This globetrotter has an exquisite travel record and is the title holder of the race. His last run on soft ground was in Dubai in which he finished at the tail end of the field. That does not bode well for him if the conditions remain soft on Saturday. He will need at least good ground to retain his title.

Idaho is the full-brother to Highland Reel and although he has yet to bag a Group 1, he is a horse on the upside that can spring a surprise with some luck. He is clearly the stable's second pick but will run with his own chances and cannot be dismissed as a place chance.

Jack Hobbs is the dark horse of the race. Not because we don't know much about him but because if he clicks as expected on soft ground, he will be involved at the finish line. If the ground conditions don't suit, he could come out with the same stinker as at Royal Ascot.

Ulysses beat Barney Roy in an epic battle in the Coral-Eclipse and is another horse on an upward curve. There is the niggling thought with him that he might have run his race of the season already and I am not entirely sure that 3 weeks rest will be enough to get over his exertions at Sandown. The 12 furlong distance, although within his usual realm, might overstretch him in this case.

Like his Godolphin counter-part, Benbatl comes in with some question marks. There is no doubt in my mind this son of Dubawi is top-class and potentially best over a mile-and-a-quarter. The way he finished so well in the Epsom Derby leads me to believe that it was his class carrying him all the way through; he will need lots of it to overcome these seasoned mile-and-a-half older colts. If all things fall for him, it won't be a shock if he were to prevail and I see him potentially as a value top 4 pick.

Finally, the blooming rose among the lot; Enable is easily the staying filly of the Classic generation, having bagged 2 Oaks in spectacular fashion already. As with all John Gosden horses, the words from the trainer's mouth are so vital; in this case, the vibes from the connections are ever so bullish. That means the filly is ready to go. She is packed stamina-wise and will benefit from a weight allowance from the colts. The fact that she only raced a fortnight ago could be a factor, albeit a small one in my opinion, as she won that race in a canter. She looks set to emulate the mighty Danedream, the last filly to win the race.

Win: Enable
First 4: Benbatl

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