Ryan Moore knows the principles in Saturday's feature race at Ascot very well, and here he discusses the race in detail as well as talking exclusively about his four rides on the card...
"I genuinely couldn't split Crystal Ocean and Poet's Word and they probably deserve to head the betting after their Royal Ascot successes, though Cracksman would obviously be exceptionally hard to beat if he came back to his form here last October, or his Ganay win.
- Ryan Moore on the King George VI
Hoping for more progress
He has packed a lot of racing in since making his debut in January but it clearly hasn't done him any harm to judge on his recent successes at Epsom and Nottingham. The problem is that he has gone up 12lb for those wins in small fields, and this is clearly a much deeper and competitive race. He looks to have a tough task on off top weight, so hopefully his progression hasn't come to a standstill just yet.
A lot to like about Makzeem's chances
Although, he handles quick ground okay, I definitely think he appreciates some cut. It was officially good to firm when he finished a good fifth in the Bunbury Cup last time, with plenty of these horses close around him, but that was well-watered ground at Newmarket. But he clearly comes here in good form, races off a fair mark, and he has run well on both his starts at this course, including when sixth in this race last season.
He shouldn't be far away again if he runs his race, but I don't think there are many secrets from the handicapper now. You can say the same for most of these, though, maybe all of them, and he has a fair bit to recommend him. Any rain would be an obvious plus, as I've said.
High class renewal of the King George VI
Cracksman has stood his ground for the time being, waiting on the predicted rain to arrive at the course on Friday, and my filly certainly wouldn't mind this dry spell coming to an end, either. She is an incredibly versatile horse from 1m to 1m4f, and you saw how good she was when beating the mud-lover Bateel over course and distance on soft ground in the autumn in what was a career-best. That was her only start at the trip to date, and she relished it.
She does have form on quicker ground, as she showed when third in the Coronation Stakes, but I suppose the more obvious concern for her is her recent form. I was happy enough with her on her comeback run, as she clearly needed the race, but she was undoubtedly disappointing at Royal Ascot, notwithstanding the fact that she carried a penalty that day. Perhaps she simply needs a longer trip nowadays, and this dual Group 1 winner has the form to play a role here. Rain would help, for sure.
I obviously know Crystal Ocean and Poet's Word very well, and I love the pair of them. My filly has her work cut out if they are on their A-game; indeed, who is to say that there isn't plenty more to come from them, too? I genuinely couldn't split them and they probably deserve to head the betting after their Royal Ascot successes, though Cracksman would obviously be exceptionally hard to beat if he came back to his form here last October, or his Ganay win. His last two starts give everyone a chance, though.
Coronet is progressive, and Rostropovich obviously ran well in this grade last time in the Irish Derby. He is the only 3yo in the race getting a good weight allowance, and I wouldn't be in a rush to dismiss that Classic form, as some have. I think the market is underestimating him at 25/1. There is plenty of quality in here, if not the numbers, but that is often the way in this race.
Stronger race for Brewer but he's a useful prospect
He shaped with promise on his debut and he showed the benefit of that run when winning a four-runner race at Newmarket last time. He appreciated the step up to 7f and did it well, and the form is working out okay, too. The third was well-beaten next time, but the runner-up and fourth have won convincingly since, and he looks a useful prospect.
This is a much stronger race than Newmarket obviously, though it has cut up a lot at the overnight stage, so this well tell us a lot more about his potential.