The Breeder’s Cup “Win and You’re In” series will take us to Ascot on Saturday for the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (GI). The winner of this affair will have free entry into the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Turf run at Santa Anita Park later this fall.
The King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes took a hit early in the week, as the top distance turf horse in the world, Postponed, fell ill with an upper-respiratory infection and was forced to be withdrawn from the race.
All is not doom and gloom for the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, however, as a solid field of seven have drawn for the contest. The race features a rematch between Highland Reel, who just missed against Dartmouth at Royal Ascot last month.
We also have some horses looking to cash their free ticket to the Breeders’ Cup. Let’s take a look at the contenders.
7-Wings of Desire (7-2) represents the lone three-year-old in the race, but he has a big opportunity here. He just knocked heads against two budding superstars in Harzand and US Army Ranger in the Epsom Derby (GI). Two starts back, he defeated the Belmont Derby Invitational winner (Deauville) handily in the Dante Stakes. He also gets a huge 12-pound break in the weights against his elders. Lot’s to like here. He’s my top choice.
1-Dartmouth (2-1) is 3-for-3 this season, including the victory by a head over Highland Reel last month in the Hardwicke Stakes (GII). He showed some grit in that affair and not having to face the likes of Postponed will help his chances to stay perfect on the year. The one to beat.
3-Highland Reel (5-2) has been knocking heads with some of Europe’s best distance horses and finally showed some signs of life in his latest when losing by a head against Dartmouth. He does have some back class, as he won the Hong Kong Vase (GI) and the Secretariat (GI) last season. A return to last year’s form would make him quite scary in here.
6-Western Hymn (20-1) flopped against Hawkbill and The Gurkha earlier this month in the Coral-Eclipse Stakes (GI), but, besides that effort, this horse is a steady producer and is always in the thick of things. He owns two wins, three second-place finishes, and three third-place finishes out of nine total starts over the past two seasons. Chance to hit the board at a big price.
2-Erupt (5-1) is coming into this one off of an impressive second-place finish to Silverwave in the Grand Prix De Saint- Cloud (GI) earlier this month. His form last season was good and, if he is starting to hit his stride, he can be competitive against these, despite only having one victory out of his last six starts.
Rest of the field: 4-Second Step (20-1) and 5-Sir Isaac Newton (15-1).