The inaugural King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes took place in 1951, and currently comprises the second-biggest prize fund of any race in England, after The Derby.
It is run over 12-furlongs at Ascot, and is the first race in the calendar where the best of the 3-year-olds meet the best of the older horses over this distance.
- 4-year-olds have won 13 of the 17 renewals this century, 3-year-olds the other 4
- Aidan O’Brien has trained 4 of the last 16 winners
- Michael Stoute is the joint all-time leading trainer with 5 winners, including 3 this century
- John Gosden has trained 2 of the last 6 winners
- Ryan Moore has ridden 2 of the last 8 winners
- German trained horse have won 2 of the last 5 renewals
Last year’s winner bids to become the first horse to win back-to-back renewals since Swain in 1997/1998 and, though at 5 he’s older than any winner this century, he sets a decent standard for the younger horses to aim at. Mtoto, Opera House, Daylami and Swain also won at the age of 5 between 1998 and 1999.
The 2017 Epsom Oaks winner is potentially an interesting contender, as her trainer John Gosden won the 2014 renewal with another Epsom Oaks winner in Taghrooda. She may not be a certain runner, but her price will surely shorten if she wins the Irish Oaks.
Placed in both the English and Irish Derbys last year, Idaho won his last race over the 12-furlongs at Ascot, which was a Group 2. However, he was well-behind Highland Reel on his previous run in the Coronation Stakes, and there’s no reason why that form should be turned around.
Lightly-raced 4-year-old who could still have improvement to come after just 8 runs, especially as his last run was his best yet when he got within 2-lengths of Highland Reel at Epsom. Could give the favourite plenty to think about.
Trained by Michael Stoute, but held by Highland Reel on their Royal Ascot form last time when he finished third behind Aidan O’Brien’s runner. Highland Reel also looks more likely to appreciate the extra-distance here.
The John Gosden trained 2015 Irish Derby runner-up was a major disappointment last time when finishing last behind Highland Reel, but that run was too bad to be true. He had earlier beaten Highland Reel at Meydan, and could be danger to all, especially if the ground is soft on the day.
Wings Of Eagles
This year’s Epsom Derby winner failed to double-up in the Irish Derby, but was beaten less than half-a-length in third. This may come too soon for him after that race, but could easily bounce back if allowed to take his chance.
The classic generation could be well-represented if the likes of Epsom Oaks winner Enable and Epsom Derby winner Wings of Eagles are allowed to take their chance, but they have plenty of other options.
Therefore, the top-rated Highland Reel looks an obvious choice as he has already proved that he is very efficient at Ascot. He doesn’t like soft ground though so, if rain is forecast, Jack Hobbs could be an interesting alternative.
Tip: Highland Reel