Ascot’s King George V1 And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes is the feature race on Saturday, one of seven races covered by ITV cameras.
Despite the absence of impressive Derby winner Desert Crown, this year’s renewal is an excellent showdown between the current Classic generation of Irish Derby hero Westover and unlucky Oaks runner-up Emily Upjohn, while the older brigade is headed by last season’s runaway Juddmonte International winner Mishriff and surprise Arc victor Torquator Tasso.
“Tip of the Day” - Mishriff (3.35pm Ascot) - 7/2 with BetVictor
A fascinating King George in which John & Thady Gosden’s unlucky Eclipse runner-up can gain ample compensation if in the same kind of form as when routing the opposition in last season’s Juddmonte International at York.
1.50pm Ascot. 6f
Our Tip: Minnetonka (e.w.) - 9/1 with William Hill
The Ralph Beckett-trained Lazoo sets the standard for this juvenile fillies Group 3 contest based on her half length second in the Group 2 Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes at Newmarket’s July meeting last time.
Prior to that effort, Frankie Dettori’s mount won the Listed Empress Fillies’ Stakes on that course, a race in which Minnetonka was sent off the 7/4 market leader following her wide-margin debut victory at Salisbury. The daughter of Kingman is clearly better than that run would suggest and is worth giving another chance to with that experience under her belt.
2.05pm York. 5f
Our Tip: Eeh Bah Gum (e.w.) - 15/2 with Unibet (5 places)
Not exactly a race to get heavily involved in with all 20 runners for this five furlong sprint handicap set to be partnered by professional jump jockeys.
In a race to be treated with caution, the each-way selection is Eeh Bah Gum from the stable of Kevin Ryan who has an excellent record with his sprinters on the Knavesmire. Champion jump jockey Brian Hughes will be in the saddle and on a course which suits front runners when the ground is on the firm side, this prominent racer looks sure to run well from towards the bottom of the weights.
2.25pm Ascot. 1m
Our Tip: Zanbaq (Nb) - 2/1 with bet365
After running in both the French and German 1000 Guineas, Jumbly should appreciate this drop in class. The mount of Hollie Doyle met all sorts in trouble when sent off favourite for the Dusseldorf Classic last month and deserves a change of luck. But preference is for the Roger Varian-trained Royal Ascot runner-up Zanbaq.
The grey daughter of Oasis Dream did well to beat all bar the classy Heredia in the 28-runner Sandringham Stakes (Handicap) on just her fourth start and with more improvement yet to come, Jim Crowley’s mount looks the one to beat.
2.40pm York. 6f
Our Tip: Aberama Gold (e.w.) - 10/1 with Paddy Power (5 places)
Another wide-open sprint handicap headed by top weight Mondammej who produced a career best on the course last time when runner-up to the exciting Royal Aclaim in the Listed John Smith’s City Walls Stakes.
The Antony Brittain-trained gelding can often be slowly away and should that be the case on this firm ground, the five-year-old is unlikely to get into a challenging position, especially with 9st 12lb to carry.
One horse who looks to be running into form is the once 103-rated Aberama Gold who has been running well of late off a much lower mark. Narrowly beaten in a couple of big field handicaps over today’s course and distance back in May, Billy Garritty’s mount was beaten half a length under a big weight at Ayr on Monday and having failed to trouble the judge since December 2020, would not be winning out of turn.
3.00pm Ascot. 7f
Our Tip: Lion Tower (e.w.) (Longshot) - 28/1 with Betfred (6 places)
Despite a rare poor effort at Sandown last time, due to a combination of failing to get the clearest of runs and not appearing to handle the track that well, the usually reliable Lion Tower is fancied to outrun his odds for the Grant Tuer stable.
I have always felt that Ascot’s stiff seven furlongs would prove ideal for the prominent racer, who, with little guaranteed pace around him, could make a bold bid from the front if able to grab the rails position from his draw in stall 18.
Chiefofchiefs is sure to be one of the last to challenge and could go well for Westover’s jockey Colin Keane, while of those drawn low, Jumby, Tactical and Hunt Cup winner Dark Shift have obvious claims
3.15pm York. 1m 2 1/2f
Our Tip: Dubai Honour - 15/8 with Coral
An easy winner of the Wolferton Stakes at Royal Ascot, Godolphin’s Dubai Future is far from certain to run up to that form, as the Dubawi gelding has proved anything but consistent in the past.
Claymore won the Hampton Court Stakes at the royal meeting and gets a handy 9lb weight-for-age from the older horses in this Group 2. But slight preference is for the William Haggas-trained Dubai Honour and jockey Stevie Donohoe.
After finishing fourth in the Britannia Stakes at Royal Ascot last year, the son of Pride Of Dubai did nothing but improve, culminating in winning a couple of Group 2 races in France before beating all bar Sealiway in the Group 1 Champion Stakes at Ascot.
The four-year-old returns to home soil following creditable runs at Sha Tin and Meydan, and with conditions to suit is taken to outclass his rivals.
3.35pm Ascot. 1m 4f
Our Tip: Mishriff (Nap) - 7/2 with Betvictor
While it was hard to be anything other than impressed with the victory of unlucky Derby third Westover in the Irish version at the Curragh last month, with the exception of the winner that looked a very substandard renewal of the race where Oaks heroine Tuesday could never get competitive in a contest which suited those horses racing up front.
It would be no surprise to see Oaks runner-up Emily Upjohn prove best of the Classic generation. But there are few question marks surrounding the fillies’ stablemate Mishriff who is fancied to go one better than when finishing second to Derby winner Adayar in the race 12 months ago.
It could be argued that the best middle-distance performance of last season was that of Mishriff’s runaway win in the Juddmonte International on the Knavesmire, a repeat of which would make James Doyle’s mount very hard to beat, despite the quality of the opposition.