CAN roughie Broome sweep away his King George rivals from the front? It's not impossible you know…
Today's summer highlight, the Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes, has long been one of my favourite races.
And as if often the case, the Ascot showpiece is set to answer many questions during the mile and a half feature, including:
1 Westover: Is he fast enough?
2 Emily Upjohn: Are the fillies much good?
3 Mishriff: Does he really stay?
4 Torquator Tasso: Is he just a mudlark?
5 Broome: Can he get an easy lead again?
6 Pyledriver: Does he have the class?
If you know the answers before the race to all those questions you'll probably find the winner.
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And the victor will join an illustrious group to have landed a King George.
Those whose performances live long in the memory number Galileo, Grundy, Shergar, Dancing Brave, Nashwan, Lammtarra, Montjeu and Enable.
More often than not you need a good one to win a King George.
On paper Broome, a massive outsider, is only an all right one and has it all to do.
It’s also fair to say he has a mixed Ascot record that includes a last place in the Group 1 Long Distance Cup (slowly away) and a tame fourth of five (slowly away) behind Adayar in last year's renewal.
However, when he hasn't fluffed the start Broome’s been second of ten behind Wonderful Tonight in last year's Hardwicke and an impressive all-the-way winner of that event in June.
And Aidan O'Brien's raider does have some other class form, including a second to Yibir in the Breeders' Cup Turf at Del Mar and a fourth behind Anthony Van Dyck in the 2019 Derby when sent off at just 4-1.
Broome loves fast ground, and if he gets away on terms and is sent straight to the front he might be hard to pass under Ryan Moore.
It’s much easier to make a case for Ralph Beckett's Westover, who like Broome is rated 120 but gets a massive 11lb for being a three-year-old.
The unlucky-in-running Derby third was impressive in the Irish equivalent last time although it was a desperate affair.
These, though, will be the fastest ground conditions Westover has encountered and only time will tell whether he enjoys the surface.
Irish champion Colin Keane takes the ride in a bid to land his first Ascot success.
Emily Upjohn gets 14lb from Broome as a three-year-old filly, and comes here having missed the Irish Oaks with plane trouble.
The daughter of Sea the Stars should be unbeaten in four runs as she had a horrible start and then not the best rides when second to Tuesday at Epsom last time.
She’s clearly talented for John and Thady Gosden but it’s easy to think the Classic middle distance colts are a bit better than the fillies.
Mishriff has only won once over a mile and a half and that was in the Sheema Classic in Meydan.
Chappers' Saturday tips
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I really felt he didn’t get home behind Adayar in this last year and it was speed that enabled him to smash the field in the Group 1 Juddmonte International at York last year.
James Doyle replaces regular partner David Egan after a late thrust into second in the Eclipse.
Arc hero Torquator Tasso is a fascinating raider, as he’s relatively dismissed in the betting despite his huge Longchamp success at the expense of the brilliant Tarnawa and Hurricane Lane. Adayar was fourth.
Connections are convinced this ground is not an issue, but that Arc victory came in heavy and the form book suggests ‘Tasso’ is a mudlark.
That might be an assumption that comes to haunt one, but you have to find a reason for opposing Marcel Weiss’s raider and that’s my and, to be fair, most people’s view.
Pyledriver is an insulting price and better than the odds suggest, for all I find it hard to believe he has the ability to cause the upset I’m hoping Broome might inflict.
That said, Pyledriver is a Coronation Cup hero and was a close fourth (arguably should have won) in the 2022 Sheema Classic where class Japanese hope Shahryar was successful and Yibir a fine second.
Pyledriver is a credit to William Muir and Chris Grassick and should give new rider PJ McDonald some fun.
The King George should be a cracker. But at the prices there’s plenty of ‘Room on the Broome’.
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