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

3.30pm Ascot

Enable - Frankie Dettori winners lead in The King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes
  • Distance 1m 4f
  • Class 1
  • Group 1
  • Prize money £1,150,000
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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 since 1976 in the shape of the John Gosden-trained Taghrooda. In 2017, Enable, another filly trained by Gosden, was a superb winner.

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, 5 wins (1995, 1998-9, 2004, 2017)
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




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


Enable fends off Crystal Ocean in King George for the ages

Enable showed great courage to repel Crystal Ocean and become only the third two-time winner of the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes at Ascot.

Sent off the 8-15 favourite for the QIPCO British Champions Series showpiece, the John Gosden-trained mare – who was first successful in the 2017 renewal – found herself trapped wider than ideal through the early stages under Frankie Dettori, as Norway cut out the running.

After Derby hero Anthony Van Dyck became the first of the big guns to drop away, Crystal Ocean and Enable swung into the straight full of running – with Dettori calling on Enable for her effort at the two-furlong marker.

Crystal Ocean and James Doyle refused to buckle, though, and the prize looked very much up for grabs before Enable and Dettori got the last word for a neck success, in a finish that had definite echoes of the epic Grundy-Bustino battle of 1975.

Waldgeist was third for France, another length and a quarter away.

Gosden said: “She’s everything you ever want. The draw rather affected her, she was suddenly very wide, so Frankie dropped back further than he wanted.

“She’s a brave and wonderful filly, and what a great battle with Crystal Ocean. It’s what you wanted to see.”

He added: “I think she possibly carried him (Dettori) into the race a little too easily, and I thought he’d hit the front a long way out, but he felt he had to go then.

“Crystal Ocean showed all the courage in the world, and the first two are wonderful – they put up a great King George. Frankie was slightly hands and heels and waving it (whip) at her, he didn’t really throw everything at her at all. He just felt he wanted her to do it slightly within herself.

“It was a great race, it’s what it’s all about.”

On the subject of where she runs next, he said: “We’ll let he come along in the next days and make a decision where we go with her. She is slightly pencilled in to go to York, she’s in the Yorkshire Oaks and the Juddmonte International.”

Revelling in the latest big-race success of a season that has been extraordinary even by his standards, Dettori said: “I’m carrying the pressure of the nation. She is unbeaten for two years.

“Not only is she a super mare, she showed what a courageous will to win she has. I don’t want too many races like that, as I’m absolutely exhausted.

“In all my career it is probably the hardest and most hard-fought race I’ve ever had. It was two great champions. Give credit to Crystal Ocean, he put it out there for me and it was an amazing race.”

Sir Michael Stoute said of the gallant Crystal Ocean: “He doesn’t know how to give in. He is just so brave and gives everything. He ran a great race.”

Doyle said: “I’ve never experienced finishing second in a race and getting as loud a cheer as the winner. They really do love him and he wears his heart on his sleeve. What a run. It was a great race, it was unbelievable.

“She joined me and it felt like I headed her back – well I thought I did – and I thought we could be in business, but she just digs into the reserves and away she goes.

“Credit to my fellow, he left every inch of his heart out on the track there.”


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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.

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