King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes Preview

A small but select field of eight horses line up for Saturday’s King George after the late defection of all three runners from the Aidan O’Brien stable. Ballydoyle’s leading hope St Nicholas Abbey has suffered a very serious injury and it is hoped that he can be saved for a career at stud.

Cirrus des Aigles

Top on official ratings is the French-trained Cirrus des Aigles who is bidding to bounce back from a disappointing seasonal reappearance at Saint-Cloud. On that occasion he was only fifth behind the German-trained Novellist but connections are optimistic of reversing the form.cirrusdesaigles

Cirrus des Aigles has won at Ascot previously over a mile and a quarter and also chased home the great Frankel in the final race of his illustrious career. If he is able to reproduce that form he has around 10lbs in hand of his rivals.

One horse has been supplemented for the race and that is the three-year-old Hillstar. Sir Michael Stoute persuaded the owners that it was worth the £75,000 fee to enter the progressive colt in the race after his victory at Royal Ascot.

Trading Leather

The pick of the younger generation may be the Irish Derby winner Trading Leather who defeated the first three home in the Epsom Derby when scoring at the Curragh. Jim Bolger is confident that the colt has made further improvement since that race and he is currently on offer at 9-2 with Bet365.

Novellist will be ridden by Johnny Murtagh now that Ryan Moore has been claimed to ride Hillstar. Murtagh is enjoying a resurgence in his fortunes since he started training and was top jockey at Royal Ascot before winning last weekend’s Irish Oaks.

Very Nice Name is another interesting raider having finished a respectable third behind St Nicholas Abbey in Dubai this spring. He was a 66-1 chance that day but showed that he is up to this class and won’t start at that sort of price on Saturday.


Roger Varian saddles Ektihaam who slipped and unseated his rider in the Hardwicke Stakes at the Royal meeting. He is reported to be in excellent form and there is confidence in the stable that he will make a bold bid here. Regular rider Paul Hanagan has elected to go to York to ride stable companion Mukhadram leaving Dane O’Neill to partner Ektihaam.

Mark Johnston’s consistent Universal takes a step up to Group One company after winning decisively at Newmarket last time out. The eight-runner line up is completed by Ed Dunlop’s Red Cadeaux who needs to improve on his modest effort behind Al Kazeem in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes last time.

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