King George Weekend – Day One Preview
The King George Weekend begins at Ascot Racecourse on Friday, and although the marquee events take place on Saturday, there are still plenty of races to be excited about on the opening day of the meet.
The John Guest Racing British EBF Fillies’ Novice Stakes kicks off proceedings, featuring two-year-old charges that are making their respective bows on the major stage. John Gosden is known for training champion fillies and he and Frankie Dettori will be working in tandem with the horse Reehaam, which may spark the interest of one or two punters.
Another meet for two-year-old’s is next on the agenda in the form of the Anders Foundation British EBF Crocker Bulteel Maiden Stakes. Given that the horses have little or no experience it’s difficult to predict their form on the track other than the word of their respective trainers. Richard Hannon has won the event two out of the last three years and one of his charges could be work a look for another victory.
The card begins to kick up a gear for the John Guest Racing Brown Jack Handicap. Here more experienced horses take to the turf and there are a number of intriguing options.
Sir Michael Stoute’s Crystal King has a solid pedigree and a champion jockey at the reins with Ryan Moore. He has been underwhelming at times this term, although Moore did ride the horse to victory at Leicester in October last year.
Blue Laureate should also be considered, having performed well in his two appearances at Ascot. Iain Williams’ charge finished second behind Berkshire Blue in the Shergar Cup Classic in 2018, while he also placed second earlier this term at the Les Ambassadeurs Casino Handicap. If there’s value there he could be work an each-way punt.
Meanwhile, True Destiny has form ahead of the event, winning three out of his last five races, although whether he is ready for the increased standard of competition remains to be seen.
The Valiant Stakes is the only class one event of the day and features two impressive horses. Magnetic Charm and Billesdon Brook should enjoy a fierce duel at the event.
Billesdon Brook made a name for herself last season by winning the 1,000 Guineas Stakes at Newmarket with a fine performance as a 66/1 outsider. She stunned a talented field to win by one-and-three-quarter lengths. Hannon’s charge has not been as dominant since, recording only one win at the Queen Charlotte Fillies’ Stakes this term.
Magnetic Charm is the horse to beat and has impressed in her two races in 2019. The three-year-old was excellent at York to defeat the favourite Twist ‘N’ Shake by a neck. However, William Haggas’ charge was beaten at Royal Ascot in the Sandringham Stakes by the same margin by Thanks Be. She will be aiming to go one better to claim the Valiant Stakes crown.
Late Afternoon Races
Other horses to watch out for in the remaining three races of the day include Sextant in the John Guest Racing Handicap with the Stoute and Moore double act. Ornate has won his last two races ahead of the Neptune Investment Management Supports Child Bereavement UK Handicap and there could be value in backing another victory.
The final race of the day is always a tough one to pick and the Fillies’ Handicap is no different. Heritage has won her last two events, although Peggie Sue also comes into the race in form. They are two names to monitor and betting based on value is the best option there.