Your Betting Guide for the 2018 King George VI Weekend at Ascot

The King George VI Weekend is known as the prestige midsummer event on the Ascot calendar, and it features a total of four Class 1 races. The main event is unquestionably the 2018 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, widely regarded as the #1 middle-distance midseason race in Europe.


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The festival has been lit up by legendary horses such as Nijinsky, Montjeu, and Dancing Brave, and tens of thousands of racing fans will flock to Ascot at the weekend to see if any of the world-class horses on display makes its way into legend.

In this guide, I look at three of the most hotly anticipated events at the festival – including the big one. Each race preview will be followed by a comparison of the current betting odds on each horse from some of the world’s major horse racing bookmakers.

Valiant Stakes

Friday, July 27

This Listed race is for mares and fillies aged 3yo+. It is run over a distance of 7f 213 yards and was first run in 1998. The first few runnings took place in mid-August, but it was moved to the festival in 2002 and was awarded Listed status in 2009.

Previous Winners

YearWinnerOdds (SP)
2013Zibelina14/1
2014Euro CharlineEvens
2015Evita Peron5/4
2016Red Box14/1
2017On Her Toes8/1

Betting Trends and Information

There are 17 runners at the time of writing although no odds have been released as of yet.

  • 13/19 winners were drawn in one of the three widest stalls; including seven winners from the widest stall.
  • 16/19 winners finished in the top three in their previous race.
  • 15/19 winners were in the top four in the betting market.
  • 17/19 winners last ran 9-50 days before the race.

It is typically a race for fancied horses with an overwhelming number of horses in the top 4 of the market going on to win. Take note of the draw because horses in the widest stalls (higher numbers at Ascot) tend to perform well. Only eight of the entries finished in the top three in their last race so check the market and draw before committing to a selection.


Princess Margaret Keeneland Stakes

Saturday, July 28

This Group 3 race is for 2yo fillies only and takes place over 6 furlongs. It was established in 1946 and named after King George VI’s younger daughter, Princess Margaret. The first winner was Orum Blaze, and it is a race dominated by Lester Piggott. The legendary jockey has ridden an astonishing ten winners in this race.

Previous Winners

YearWinnerOdds (SP)
2013Princess Noor25/1
2014Osalia7/4
2015Besharah15/8
2016Fair Eva4/6
2017Nyaleti2/1

Betting Trends and Information

There were 21 runners at the time of writing with Fairyland the early 7/2 favourite. Royal Intervention, Main Edition, Angel’s Hideaway, and Natalie’s Joy are all available between 5/1 and 11/2; the rest of the field are 8/1+.

  • 14/21 winners came from one of the three widest stalls or stall one.
  • 19/21 winners won the race at SP odds of 6/1 or less.
  • 16/21 winners finished in the top two in their last race.
  • 19/21 winners were in the top three in the betting market; including 13 favourites.

Although the Princess Margaret Stakes is dominated by relatively short-priced horses, the market suggests that this year’s edition could be one of the hardest to call in years. Once again, the draw should play a significant role in your decision as horses drawn wide, and those drawn in the inside stall, have excellent recent records.

Even when you eliminate horses that finished outside the top two in their last race, you are left with 13 contenders. I recommend waiting for the draw, and the markets, to decide if it is worth backing any horses in this race.

Ante Post Betting Odds

 888SportComeOn.comWilliam Hill
Fairyland3/110/37/2
Main Edition5/15/111/2
Natalies Joy11/25/19/2
Royal Intervention6/15/111/2
Angel’s Hideaway7/113/27/1
Lover’s Knot8/19/18/1
Scintilating10/111/110/1
Servalan10/110/111/1
Skitter Scatter12/112/112/1
Beyond Reason14/114/111/1
Comedy14/116/114/1
Ajrar16/116/114/1
Aquarius16/114/114/1
Chapelli16/116/114/1
Ginger Nut16/118/116/1
Kodyanna20/122/120/1
Nicki’s Angel20/122/116/1
Octave20/120/120/1
Come On Leicester33/128/125/1
The Mackem Bullet33/133/125/1
Usra33/133/133/1
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King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes

Saturday, July 28

This Group 1 flat race is one of the jewels in Ascot’s crown. It is open to all horses aged 3yo+ and takes place over 1m 4f. It is the most prestigious open-age Flat race in the UK and was inaugurated in 1951. It is named after King George VI’s wife, and NOT his daughter, who is the current monarch.

With a purse of over £1.15 million, it is the second most lucrative race in Britain behind the Derby. This race was also the scene of the remarkable “Race of the Century” where Grundy held off the stiff challenge of Bustino. One can only hope that this year’s race offers even half the excitement of that extraordinary sporting occasion.

Previous Winners

YearWinnerOdds (SP)
2013Novellist13/2
2014Taghrooda7/2
2015Postponed6/1
2016Highland Reel13/8
2017Enable5/4

Betting Trends and Information

There are 19 runners at the time of writing with Crystal Ocean the 7/4 favourite followed by Poet’s Word at 2/1. Kew Gardens is next up at 5/1, and the rest of the field is 7/1+.

  • 19/21 winners finished in the top three in their last race; the other two winners were having their first run.
  • 19/21 winners were in the first four in the betting market.
  • 15/21 winners last ran 16-60 days before the race.
  • 14/21 winners had never run over more than 1m 4f.

Despite the pomp and circumstance surrounding the race, it is an event that is seldom won by an outsider. If we look at the current field, only Cracksman, Waldgeist, and Coronet seem likely to join the favourites in the top four of the market. Regarding trends, only two of the 19 runners failed to finish in the top three in their last race.

Crystal Ocean is a worthy favourite and has shown himself to be the top middle-distance horse of the season so far, and his win in the Hardwicke Stakes was very impressive. Cracksman was shaping up for a monster season but has underperformed in his last two races; including a defeat last time out to Poet’s Word. Otherwise, only Kew Gardens seems likely to threaten the favourite after an excellent recent win in the Grand Prix de Paris.

Ante Post Betting Odds

RaceBets.comComeOn.comWilliam Hill
Crystal Ocean15/87/47/4
Poet’s Word2/12/19/4
Kew Gardens5/15/15/1
Cracksman7/115/27/1
Waldgeist8/18/19/1
Coronet10/110/110/1
Rostropovich14/116/116/1
Salouen25/125/120/1
Bateel33/125/125/1
Cliffs Of Moher25/128/125/1
Hydrangea20/120/125/1
Dee Ex Bee33/133/133/1
Nelson40/140/140/1
Desert Encounter40/140/150/1
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