by JACK MILNER THE King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes is one of the undoubted highlights of the Flat season and is Britain’s most prestigious open-age race on the level. The race has been won by some of the all-time greats with Montjeu and Galileo both winning for Coolmore en route to a lucrative stud career. Following a similar path could be St Nicholas Abbey (2/1) for trainer Aidan O’ Brien, who has finished third in the race in the last two years behind Nathaniel and Danedream.
Both were solid runs and he has arguably the best form in the book but has never won going right-handed, which is a massive concern. Cirrus Des Aigles (3/1) beat a stellar field when winning the Champion Stakes here in 2012 and has to be respected. He did beat St Nicholas Abbey in the Sheema Classic last season, but all his best form has come over ten furlongs.
With the race looking like it may cut up, it could be worth taking a punt on two likely runners who look as tough as nails. Mark Johnston’s Universal (20/1) has been a revelation this summer, winning the Jockey Club Stakes and the Princess of Wales Stakes and will have no problems with the trip or the course.
But the most likely winner looks to be TRADING LEATHER (5/1) for Jim Bolger and Kevin Manning. The Irish Derby winner won at The Curragh fair and square and will love the ground and the course at Ascot. With weight for age, he will be in receipt of 12lb from the older horses and that looks to be vital, as seen with Nathaniel in 2011.
King George – Trading Leather Win & Universal (Ew)
Jack Milner, BetVictor