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The King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Sponsored by QIPCO)

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History

Every horse race has the power to provoke delight on the one hand and despair on the other. Ascot’s King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, which is sponsored by QIPCO, one of Britain’s most prestigious open-age Flat race, certainly did that in 2010.

The delight came with Harbinger’s extraordinary 11 length victory, a performance of such brilliance that the colt was immediately rated as the best Flat racehorse in the world. Despair followed soon after, when Harbinger fractured a leg while out training and was forced to retire without racing again.

Harbinger’s awe-inspiring victory over the 1 mile 4 furlong course (2,400 metres) was effectively a non-event, in stark contrast to the 1975 running. Grundy’s epic win over Bustino was dubbed “the race of the century” and set a new record time for the race which stood for 35 years…until Harbinger came along.

In 2012 the first ever German-trained winner emerged in the shape of Danedream, while Novellist made it two German-trained winners in a row in 2013. Then the first three-year-old filly won it, Taghrooda, since 1976 and she did in style.

The ‘King George’ was first run in 1951, following the amalgamation of two other middle-distance races. In the early 70s, the word ‘Diamond’ was added to the title after the start of De Beers’ sponsorship. Today’s backers are QIPCO, with the prize fund reaching £1 million in 2009.

Current leading jockey: Frankie Dettori, 4 wins (1995, 1998-9, 2004)
Current leading trainers: Saeed bin Suroor, 5 wins (1995, 1997-8-9, 2004); Sir Michael Stoute, 5 wins (1981, 1993, 2002, 2009-10)

Previous winners

Year Horse Jockey Trainer Owner Prize money

Entries

Going/Track

Weather

No/Draw Horse/Jockey Age Form/Type BHA Rating Weight Trainer Odds

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Dettori joy as Enable powers to King George glory

Frankie Dettori hailed Enable “as good as I’ve ridden” after the outstanding filly stormed to victory in the QIPCO-sponsored King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.

The dual Oaks heroine upstaged the colts and older horses with a brilliant performance in the mile and a half showpiece.

Close up from the outset,behind pacemaker Maverick Wave,she led early in the straight and staying on powerfully to win by four and a half lengths from Ulysses, the Coral-Eclipse winner, with the brothers, Idaho and Highland Reel, third and fourth respectively.

Dettori had been on what he described as a “grim” diet all week to make the weight of 8st 7lb and his fifth victory in the race, which forms part of the QIPCO British Champions Series, had extra satisfaction after he missed Royal Ascot with a broken shoulder.

“I lost 7lb in six days, but it was worth it. She is a superstar,” Dettori said. “It means a lot to me, I missed the whole of Royal Ascot and to come back to the place I love so much, it’s great.

“She’s as good as I’ve ridden, to win the King George by four lengths – she is the real deal and I love her so much. I’ll have a big dinner tonight, that’s for sure.”

Enable, sent off at 5-4, was having her first run on a soft surface but showed all conditions come alike to her.

Gosden said: “The facts show she can do it on any ground. Frankie was bold. She breaks well and is very business like.

“It wasn’t the plan to be that close, but she was getting weight from the older horses.

“I thought Ulysses made a brave run at her and I thought Maverick Wave did a beautiful job pacemaking. All in all she’s as good a filly as I’ve ever trained – Taghrooda was brilliant to win this and she’s following Dahlia and Pawneese.

“I’ve always planned the Yorkshire Oaks, then pause, stop and think – no trials and then possibly the one in Paris (Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe).”

He added: “Frankie has worked hard, the hunger is still there which is wonderful at his age.”

Stoute said of the gallant Ulysses: “I am delighted with him. We like him on better ground, but we were beaten by a very good filly.

“He is very versatile, really. He gets a mile and a half no problem and we have to be very pleased.

“We will have to do a bit of thinking now. We can do 10 (furlongs), we can do 12 and we don’t have to worry about soft ground, although he will be better on a faster surface.

“We have choices. I will look at him and see how he takes it.”

Results

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The Course

British horseracing can lay claim to plenty of blue-blooded connections, but none rival those of Ascot. The Berkshire racecourse’s roots go back 300 years to Queen Anne, who recognised the potential of a stretch of heath land while out riding just a few miles from Windsor Castle.

The royal link has endured ever since. Today, Queen Elizabeth II and members of the Royal Family attend the world-famous ‘Royal Ascot’ meeting each year, arriving in a horse drawn carriage. Royal Ascot, meanwhile, has earned iconic status as a centrepiece of the social calendar, when the world’s best thoroughbreds face fierce competition from the world’s most extravagant fashion designs.

Ascot, which underwent a £200 million redevelopment between 2004-6, also hosts the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes sponsored by QIPCO in July, the most prestigious open-age Flat race staged in Britain.

It will also host the inaugural QIPCO British Champions Day in October which will be the richest raceday ever staged in Britain with over £4.2m in prize money and the climax to the QIPCO British Champions Series.  Including the five category finales on QIPCO British Champions Day, Ascot stages no less than 13 of the 35 QIPCO British Champions Series races.

What sort of horses like Ascot? Horses that like right-handed courses. And what sort of people? People who like champagne and scones, apparently. During the five-day Royal Ascot meeting in 2010, 60,000 bottles of champagne and 40,000 scones were consumed. Lobsters, meanwhile, don’t like Royal Ascot – 1,500 of them were eaten over that same period.

Getting there

Ascot
Berkshire
SL5 7JX

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