In sport, there is often plenty of hype ahead of major events, but it is most unlikely that Saturday’s Group1 King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Royal Ascot won’t live up to all Horse racing betting expectations, writes Elliot Slater.
The first big clash of the season between the classic generation and older horses over a mile-and-a-half, the presence of both the brilliant Epsom Derby winner Workforce and his Dante Stakes conqueror and subsequent Irish Derby winner Cape Blanco, set the race up to be a thriller. Add in the presence of top-class older horses Dar Re Mi, Youmzain, Harbinger and Daryakana, and the chances are we could see something very special indeed.
Even though he is a hot favourite (10/11) with those who bet online, it is arguable that Workforce still has to prove he is the real deal despite his facile seven-length romp at Epsom, in which he defeated rank outsider At First Sight (beaten twice since), who re-opposes on Saturday. Sir Michael Stoute’s colt looks a class act and will be fresher than most of his rivals having bypassed the Irish Derby, a race in which Aidan O’Brien’s Cape Blanco, who easily accounted for Workforce at York, got the better of his stable companions Midas Touch and Jan Vermeer (beaten since), in workmanlike fashion.
Harbinger was very impressive at Royal Ascot, although this does represent a step up in class for him, but Dar Re Mi is proven at this level time and again and would have needed the outing and found the 10-furlong trip inadequate when only fourth in the Eclipse at Sandown earlier this month.
There have been good vibes emanating from the Channon camp around perennial Group1 runner-up Youmzain, whilst French raider Daryakana, unbeaten last season including in the Hong Kong Pacific Vase, is reportedly working well having been only narrowly denied in the Grand Prix de Saint Cloud last time out
All in all, the big race this weekend will surely be a thriller and I take John Gosden’s Dar Re Mi (14/1) to spring a minor surprise and get the better of Workforce.