Race Previews

The King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes 2019

A Thrilling Investigation

The King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes 2019 prestigious event is still a week away. That doesn’t mean, however, that now is not a good time for a bit of a preview. So read on for a few words on the upcoming event, with consideration of last year’s race, and broader trends taken into account.

Waxing Poetic

Poet’s Word, ridden by jockey James Doyle, won last year’s King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes, holding off heavy favourite Crystal Ocean in a mad dash to the finish. The win was historic, as it handed respected trainer Sir Michael Stoute a sixth success, nudging him ahead of two equally renowned counterparts in Dick Hern and Saeed bin Suroor. Crystal Ocean, with William Buick on the saddle, finished second, while Coronet, jockeyed by Olivier Peslier, came in third.

What We Can Learn From Last Year To Help Us Find The Winner In The King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes 2019

As BBC horse racing analyst Cornelius Lysaght pointed out, Poet’s Word wasn’t a household name coming into the prestigious mile-and-a-half race. But clearly that didn’t deter the Irish-bred thoroughbred and his team from winning. His seemingly out-of-nowhere victory reinforces one thing that’s always been true in this sport – anything can happen. Indeed, this is what makes the sport so exciting, and so timeless. Odds-on favourites can falter, while long shots can make history. To be fair, Poet’s Word wasn’t exactly a long shot in the purest sense, but was still far from a favourite. That he galloped to victory is a reminder for everyone to expect the unexpected at this summer’s race, and in the sport in general.

The Stakes At The Stakes Are High

One thing about this year’s King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes is that it could be the best race of the season. Coronation Cup winner Defoe will be returning to Ascot, where he has been tagged as one of the favourites, along with Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Enable. Past Royal Ascot champions, Crystal Ocean and Japan, are also expected at the Berkshire track, as are Investec Derby darling Anthony Van Dyck, and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe runner-up Sea of Class. In other words, the field for King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes looks stacked. The best are lining-up, and that raises the stakes even more, at least in a figurative sense.

Trends To Consider

Beyond the storylines above, here are some interesting tidbits to keep in mind as we look ahead to the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes:

  • Each of the 17 previous winners has won either a Group 1 or Group 2 race. This bodes well for Defoe, and even for Anthony Van Dyck, who memorably won the Epsom Derby earlier this year.
  • Of the previous 17 winners, 16 have been horses aged three to four. That’s certainly bad news for Crystal Ocean, who turned 5 last February. Incidentally Defoe, too, is now five.
  • Eight winners came in as favourites. Odds will be moving in the weeks ahead, but mobile betting apps make it easy to keep tabs on them, as they do. Keep an eye out for that race-day favourite though, because this factoid indicates he’ll have a good chance.
  • Two of the last five winners won the Epsom Oaks in the same years. This year, that would point attention toward Anapurna, though as of now, the horse’s participation at this year’s Stakes remains up in the air.
  • Galileo, in 2001, is the last to accomplish the Epsom Derby-King George Double. Interestingly, he sired Anthony Van Dyck, who as mentioned, won this year’s Derby. The potential for this historic double could actually wind-up being the most fascinating storyline of the event.

The King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes 2019 will be held on July 27 at the famed Ascot Racecourse. The race will be a mile and four furloughs long, and will be one of the most exciting and prestigious events on the year’s calendar – perhaps even more so than usual this year.

Becca Long

Becca Long is a freelance blog contributor and lover of all things equestrian. She hopes to visit (and write about!) all of the world's major racing and show events by her mid-30s.

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