King George 2016: Timeform's runner-by-runner guide
Timeform bring you their runner-by-runner guide to Saturday's Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot...
"High-class three-year-old won Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp last July and produced career-best when fifth in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at that venue in October..."
King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes
Saturday July 23, 16:30
1. Dartmouth (Sir Michael Stoute) Strong colt began the campaign with victory in Group 3 contests at Chelmsford and Chester. Better than ever when landing the Hardwicke Stakes over this C&D last time, showing a tenacious attitude to see off the attentions of Highland Reel and looking well worth a try in a race of this nature. Supplemented for £75,000 on Monday and entitled to be thereabouts if continuing his progression.
2. Erupt (Francis-Henri Graffard) High-class three-year-old won Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp last July and produced career-best when fifth in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at that venue in October. Below that form in three starts since, but showed signs of a revival when second in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud last time and might offer best value in a race where there is very little to separate the principals on form.
3. Highland Reel (Aidan O'Brien) Globe-trotting Ballydoyle runner enjoyed a profitable three-year-old campaign, landing the Gordon Stakes at Goodwood, the Secretariat Stakes at Arlington and the Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin. Ran as well as ever when second behind Dartmouth in the Hardwicke Stakes over the C&D last time and every chance of reversing the form, with sounder surface here likely to see him in a better light.
4. Second Step (Luca Cumani) Useful-looking gelding won the Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket and the Grosser Preis von Berlin at Hoppegarten in productive four-year-old campaign. However, yet to return to his very smart best in 2016 and difficult to recommend on the back of a disappointing effort in the Princess of Wales' Stakes at Newmarket last time.
5. Sir Isaac Newton (Aidan O'Brien) Well-bred colt was in danger of failing to fulfil his potential after truncated three-year-old season. Delivered to some extent when landing Wolferton Handicap here and International Stakes at the Curragh on last two starts, but this far tougher and yet to prove his effectiveness at this longer trip.
6. Western Hymn (John Gosden) Very smart performer has done most of his racing over 1¼m and ran right up to his best when second behind Time Test at that trip in the Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown in May. Below that form in two runs since, though, and extra two furlong unlikely to see him open his account at the top level here.
7. Wings of Desire (John Gosden) Lengthy colt made giant strides in month that followed promising debut effort at Newmarket in April and established himself as a leading Derby contender with Dante Stakes victory at York. Still looked in need of the experience when fourth at Epsom and - open to improvement after just four starts in his short career to date - he could make his presence felt in more favourable conditions here.
Timeform King George 1-2-3
2. Wings of Desire
Timeform Analyst's Verdict:
French-raider ERUPT arguably has the best form having won the Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp last summer (also not beaten far in Arc/Japan Cup), and proved all the better for his return when second in a Group 1 at Saint-Cloud 3 weeks ago. John Gosden has an excellent recent record in this and sole-3-y-o-runner Wings of Desire is feared, along with Hardwicke 1-2 Dartmouth and Highland Reel.