How to bet the 2023 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes

July 28th, 2023

One of the most exciting events on the annual British racing calendar is the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (G1) at Ascot. The 1 1/2-mile grass contest serves as an opportunity for accomplished three-year-olds to challenge their elders, and the field quality is typically top-notch.

That’s certainly the case for Saturday’s edition of the great race. A bevy of Group 1 winners are among the 11 entries, including the exciting sophomore #10 Auguste Rodin, who is surely one of the most talented horses in all of Europe.

Auguste Rodin has been cleaning up against his own age group since last fall, when he won the Vertem Futurity Trophy (G1) and Champions Juvenile (G2). His only blemish since breaking his maiden has been an uncharacteristic 12th-place finish in the 2000 Guineas (G1) to kick off 2023, and he shrugged off that defeat to win the Epsom Derby (G1) and the Irish Derby (G1) in succession.

Facing older horses is a new challenge for Auguste Rodin, but he’ll be carrying only 124 pounds, eight fewer than the accomplished filly #9 Emily Upjohn and 11 fewer than older males like #4 Hukum and #7 Pyledriver. Three-year-olds have an encouraging record in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (winning four of the last 12 editions), and Auguste Rodin’s trainer (Aidan O’Brien) has won this race four times, so it’s going to be difficult for anyone to defeat this star in the making.

If we like Auguste Rodin, then we must also respect fellow sophomore #11 King of Steel. Runner-up by half a length in the Derby, King of Steel came back to dominate the 1 1/2-mile King Edward VII (G2) at Royal Ascot by 3 1/2 lengths, suggesting he too has the talent to challenge against older rivals.

Beyond the three-year-olds, the above-mentioned Emily Upjohn is a key contender after finishing a close second in the 1 1/4-mile Eclipse (G1) at Sandown. Stretching back out over 1 1/2 miles should be more suitable; her past exploits over this trip include a three-length victory in the British Champions Fillies & Mares (G1), a triumph over males in the Coronation Cup (G1), and a close second in the Epsom Oaks (G1).

Defending King George VI and Queen Elizabeth winner Pyledriver can’t be underestimated either, not after winning Royal Ascot’s 1 1/2-mile Hardwicke (G2) off an 11-month layoff. But he’s been competing over good and good-to-firm turf as of late, so the soft ground at Ascot could be a question mark.

That’s not the case for Hukum, who conquered Pyledriver by 4 1/4 lengths in the 2022 Coronation Cup. He won the 2021 Cumberland Lodge (G3) racing 1 1/2 miles over soft ground at Ascot and ought to appreciate Saturday’s conditions.

One longshot worth respecting is #8 Westover, runner-up behind Emily Upjohn in this year’s Coronation Cup. A seven-length winner of the 2022 Irish Derby, Westover picked up another top-level prize when trouncing the 1 1/2-mile Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud (G1) earlier this month, reiterating his status as a tried-and-true 1 1/2-mile specialist.

So how should we bet the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth? Let’s key Auguste Rodin on top of trifecta wagers while counting on Emily Upjohn to finish either first or second. We’ll round out our tickets with King of Steel, Westover, Hukum, and Pyledriver.

King George VI and Queen Elizabeth wagers

  • $5 Trifecta: 10 with 9 with 4,7,8,11 ($20)
  • $5 Trifecta: 10 with 4,7,8,11 with 9 ($20)
    Total: $40

Good luck!

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