Horse-by-horse guide to Saturday's King George at Ascot

Poet's Word beats Cracksman in the Prince Of Wales's Stakes
Poet's Word beats Cracksman in the Prince Of Wales's Stakes

David Ord's horse-by-horse guide to Saturday's King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot with Poet's Word taken to get the better of stablemate Crystal Ocean.

CLIFFS OF MOHER: Yet to win in nine attempts at Group One level and for all he ran as well as ever when third in the Coral-Eclipse last time, hard to think he's of interest for win purposes in this deep again. (25/1 Sky Bet)

CRACKSMAN: Brilliant winner of the Champion Stakes here last autumn but after scrambling home in the Coronation Cup, he was brushed aside by Poet's Word over ten furlongs in the Prince Of Wales's Stakes at the Royal Meeting. A doubtful runner unless the heavens open and clearly a player if they do but it might be the autumn before we see him back to his brilliant best. (8/1 Sky Bet)

CRYSTAL OCEAN: Three from three this season and looks a Group One winner in waiting but priced accordingly. Ryan Moore didn't get to the bottom of him to win the Hardwicke over course and distance last time and is sure to run a huge race but could be vulnerable to a rival with a turn of foot. (7/4 Sky Bet)

Crystal Ocean: Leading player in the King George
Crystal Ocean: Leading player in the King George

DESERT ENCOUNTER: Chased Emotionless home in a Listed race at Newbury on Saturday which was a respectable effort but nothing he did there or has managed before suggests he'll be winning a King George. (40/1 Sky Bet)

POET'S WORD: Won his last two and was particularly impressive when sweeping clear of Cracksman over ten furlongs here last month. He's won two of his three starts at trips beyond a mile-and-a-quarter, the defeat coming at the hooves of Hawkbill in Meydan and he had that rival over ten lengths adrift in the Prince Of Wales's rematch. This colt is thriving right now and his change of gear could be a potent weapon. (9/4 Sky Bet)

James Doyle celebrates on Poet's Word
James Doyle celebrates on Poet's Word at Royal Ascot

SALOUEN: Looked set to claim the scalp of Cracksman in the Coronation Cup only to be denied in the final strides. Clearly capable on his day but now without a win since landing a Salisbury novice stakes in the September of his two-year-old career and not hard to overlook. (25/1 Sky Bet)

WALDGEIST: Edged out Coronet after an epic duel for the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud for a third successive win this season. He's clearly at the top of his game right now and he couldn't be in better hands, but he was soundly beaten in the Irish Derby, turned over at 4/7 in the Cumberland Lodge and fourth of nine in a Munich Group One on his only three starts outside of France. (9/1 Sky Bet)

BATEEL: Second to Hydrangea on QIPCO Champions Day and started the season with a good win at Saint-Cloud. Talented mare but the worry is the ground as all her best form is with plenty of cut. (33/1 Sky Bet)

CORONET: Recorded a career-best effort when going down all guns blazing against Waldgeist but needs another to hit the frame in this. Possible there's more to come but she's now been beaten in seven races at the elite level and they don't get any easier. (9/1 Sky Bet)

HYDRANGEA: Yet to fire this season and was particularly disappointing in the Duke Of Cambridge Stakes here last time. She did win her only previous start over this trip in the QIPCO British Champion Fillies & Mares Stakes at Ascot in October though, beating Bateel and Cornet by two lengths and a length-and-three-quarters. Would have place claims if back near that level. (25/1 Sky Bet)

Hydrangea (l, purple) wins the QIPCO British Champions Fillie & Mares Stakes
Hydrangea (l, purple) wins the QIPCO British Champions Fillie & Mares Stakes

DEE EX BEE: Second in the Investec Derby but soundly beaten in the Irish equivalent and Grand Prix de Paris on his two subsequent starts. All roads lead to the St Leger for him and he'll be a different proposition over a mile-and-six with some juice in the ground. Very much in need of a Berkshire deluge this week. (33/1 Sky Bet)

KEW GARDENS: Only ninth in the Investec Derby but bounced back to win Queen's Vase at Royal Ascot and Grand Prix de Paris. Stamina is his forte and he's on the upgrade but he looks vulnerable to the high-class older horses above him on the racecard. (5/1 Sky Bet)

NELSON: Looked set for a good season when landing the Ballysax in April but the wheels have come off since. Used as a pacemaker for Kew Gardens at Longchamp last time and presumably the same task awaits here. (40/1 Sky Bet)

ROSTROPOVICH: Second on his last two starts in the King Edward VII and Irish Derby but had the run of the race in the latter and would be a surprise winner. (16/1 Sky Bet)


VERDICT

POET'S WORD is taken to get the better of Crystal Ocean in a mouthwatering clash. The two stablemates are thriving right now and head here at the top of the game and it's the selection's turn of foot which has swung the vote his way. Kew Gardens looks the pick of the three-year-olds and is likely to run well. Stablemate Hydrangea would appeal as a lively outsider if she gets the green light. She's a bit to prove after her flop last time but was impressive at her only start over this trip and she had Coronet well adrift that day.

  • 1st POET'S WORD
  • 2nd Crystal Ocean
  • 3rd Hydrangea

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