Taghrooda stormed to victory last year and Novellist won in similarly stunning fashion a year earlier.
The King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes was first run in 1951 and has gone to some of the greats of the sport. In a magical period during the 1970’s the illustrious roll of honour included Nijinsky, Mill Reef, Brigadier Gerard, Grundy, The Minstrel and Troy.
Shergar, Dancing Brave and Nashwan took the race in the 80’s. In the 1990’s Lammtarra, Swain and Daylami played starring roles, and in more recent times Montjeu, Galileo, Hurricane Run, Dylan Thomas and Danedream added their names to the dazzling winners list.
For many, the King George and the Arc remain the most prestigious middle-distance events of the Flat racing calendar. Winners from France, Germany, Ireland and the UK give the event an international feel which only adds to its lofty reputation.
Spice is further added to the mix with the opportunity of seeing the season’s top three-year-olds again taking on their elders. Four-year-olds have the upper hand in recent years though two of the last four renewals have gone to the youngsters.
This Saturday’s running is set to be as thrilling as ever, with the Derby winner Golden Horn again stepping into the arena. His stunning victory in last month’s Coral-Eclipse sent his BHA rating into the stratosphere. He remains undefeated, and the style of those victories has been truly eye-catching. He had to battle hard to win the Eclipse, but showed he possesses the resilience to go with his undoubted class.
At the weekend he will face challengers from Italy, France and the UK. Stefano Botti is set to send Dylan Mouth over from Italy. Ribot became the only Italian winner of the race when thrashing the opposition in 1956. Twice a winner of the Arc, he remained undefeated in 16 career starts and is rated by many as one of the all-time greats.
Andre Fabre runs the classy and ultra-consistent Flintshire. Second to Treve last time in France he is sure to run a huge race. Teddy Grimthorpe, Prince Khalid Abdullah’s racing manager, said on Monday: “We were a bit disappointed to say the least with Flintshire in the Coronation Cup. He didn’t really seem to spark at all, but he came back and ran a really good race in the Grand Prix de St Cloud and gave Treve a little bit of a fright. His form with Treve is probably superior to anything in Europe of the older horse brigade and now we’ll see the mettle of a very, very good Derby winner.”
Sir Michael Stoute’s Snow Sky has been supplemented for the race and also runs in the famous silks of Prince Khalid Abdullah. Grimthorpe appeared optimistic when saying: “He is slightly different. He ran a super race in the St Leger last year and he’s progressed through this year nicely.” Of his win in the Hardwicke at Royal Ascot he added: “You can make the odd excuse but for me, he had them fairly stone cold on the turn coming into the straight. He certainly deserves a crack at a Group One and this fits perfectly into his schedule.”
It’s set to be another glorious renewal of one of the sport’s greatest races. History tells us that class usually shines through in this Ascot showpiece. It would come as a major surprise if Saturday’s race proved an exception to this ‘Golden’ rule.