King George Stakes Preview: Pinch yourself some place money

Battaash is aiming to win this race for the fourth year running.
Battaash is aiming to win this race for the fourth year running.

Nick Seddon previews Friday’s King George Stakes, in which Battaash is a long odds-on favourite to create history…

We’re without a top level contest on either of the final two days of Glorious Goodwood, though the Group 2 King George Stakes is one of the fastest races in the country, and there can be no doubt that we will see a Group 1 performer on Friday afternoon. 

Indeed, Battaash has carried all before him at this venue, and arrives here having won each of the last three renewals of this contest. He’ll create history if he can win this for a fourth time, and those criticisms he’s faced for his consistency over the years have slowly started to fade away - bearing in mind that he has blown away hoodoos at both York and Ascot in emphatic style over the past 12 months.

At his best, no horse in the field will be able to live with Battaash’s electric speed, and he arrives here on the back of an excellent effort to win last month’s King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot. This is a home fixture for Battaash, and he’s impossible to oppose as a consequence, with his two main market rivals having plenty to do if they are to reverse the form. However, he is hardly a bet at 3/1-on for the casual punter, and it could be worth looking for an each-way angle if you are keen to have an interest. 

Sadly, the fact that only seven will go to post means that there are only two places on offer for each-way punters, and the two who are in prime position to fill that berth are Liberty Beach and Glass Slippers; who were third and fifth respectively in the King’s Stand. 

Glass Slippers is a Group 1 winner in her own right, and does have a victory over Battaash on her record, winning last year’s Prix de l’Abbaye at Longchamp. She was deeply impressive that day - for all that Battaash ran no sort of race - and she perhaps just ran out of puff in the closing stages on reappearance at Royal Ascot. She’s entitled to strip fitter here, and while she boasts some strong form, this track isn’t certain to suit and she’s probably priced about right in the market.

Liberty Beach was a game winner of the Molecomb Stakes here as a two-year-old 12 months ago, and she’s very much translated her smart form into this campaign, getting within two and a half lengths of Battaash at Ascot last month. She’s since gone down fighting behind A’ali in a Group 3 at Sandown at the beginning of the month - form which looks strong - and bearing in mind that she has plenty of speed, she should be suited by this test. You certainly won’t get rich backing her each-way at 7/1, but with this scenario looking likely to play to her strengths, she can prove to be the best of the rest. 

Two horses with previous are Ken Colt and Al Raya, who were first and second respectively in a listed contest at Chantilly last month. The winner prevailed in good style on the day, making all to score by two lengths, though that was a clear career best and he’s almost certain to not have the same rope in-front here. More interesting is the three-year-old filly Al Raya, who only just failed to go one place better at the same level at York earlier this month. She appeals as one who could still be open to improvement yet, though she’s surely flying too high at this level. 

The field is completed by Dubai Station and Ornate. The latter is a regular here, and set a lightning quick pace in last year’s Stewards’ Cup before running out of steam. He has smart form at his peak, but he was unable to have his own way in a hot handicap here on Tuesday, and he’s set for a similar fate here. Dubai Station showed a good attitude to win the Group 3 Pavilion Stakes at Newcastle last month, though he’s been firmly held behind Golden Horde in the Commonwealth Cup since and will need an awful lot more to hit the frame in this.

It’s impossible to oppose Battaash, and this will likely act as a tune-up for what’s shaping up in a mouth-watering renewal of the Nunthorpe Stakes next month, but Liberty Beach should be suited by a frenetic five furlongs, and she looks the most likely to pinch some place money. 

Selection

King George Stakes, Glorious Goodwood, Friday 31st July - back Liberty Beach each-way at 7/1

King George Stakes
Liberty Beach silk

Liberty Beach (EW)

lost
King George Stakes
Battaash silk

Battaash

won
Glorious Goodwood 2020
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