King George: Horse-By-Horse Guide | 28th July 2018
HORSE RACING boffin Graeme Johnston shares his expert opinion on all of Saturday’s runners in the King George from Ascot.
1. Cracksman. The highest rated colt in Europe and on his day he is exceptional. He has won at the track, has the best form in the race however he hasn’t been entirely convincing in his commitment to the game recently. He’s the best horse in the race and a generous price, could be worth chancing here.
2. Crystal Ocean. A consistent and high class colt, he was second in the St Ledger and has won his three starts since. In my opinion he’s been well placed by connections so far and this requires a further step up to be competitive. He’s a course and distance winner and will like the ground, however I’m not sure he’s got the class of a couple of these.
3. Desert Encounter. A great servant to connections he’s ran with credit in a lot of top class races in the past two years. However he rarely looks like winning and despite running well when second in a listed race last week this looks well beyond him.
4. Poets Word he’s ran in some of the best races around the world and finally got the group one win he deserves when beating Cracksman last time. There was no real fluke about that performance, however his rival should enjoy the additional 2 furlongs here more than him and he may be vulnerable late on.
5. Salouen has taken his form to new levels this season with placed efforts in two group one races and he deserves his place in the field. However I suspect he would need an easy lead and heavy ground to stand a real chance and I don’t think he’ll get either.
6. Coronet a high class filly, she win the Ribblesdale at Royal Ascot last year and she is largely consistent. Her best form is on quicker ground but she would need a career best to take this.
7. Hydrangea is a filly I really like and she’s not been seen at her best over shorter than ideal trips this season so far. This is much more suitable, however she’s halved in price this week and the stable has had some strange results lately so I’m not backing her today.
8. Rostropovic the only 3 year old colt lining up, he looks up against it at first glance. However he’s improving and his second in the Irish derby is solid form at this level. He’ll enjoy the ground and is slightly over priced to me.
A small field and with doubts about the ground and participation of the favourite there is an element of guess work required.
However at these prices Cracksman is well worth siding with and I’ve backed him to get his head in front again