GBI Racing’s stand-out race of the week, and one of the highlights of the year, the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes on Saturday, July 24 at Ascot Racecourse, has attracted a high-class field of eight at the six-day declaration stage – including the mightily impressive Investec (English) Derby winner Workforce.
The Group 1 midsummer showpiece, run over a mile and a half (2400 metres), has a £1million prize fund and is due off at 11.25 am (EDT).
The Sir Michael Stoute-trained Workforce takes on a star-studded supporting cast including Royal Ascot hero and stablemate Harbinger (ridden by French ace Olivier Peslier), Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby winner Cape Blanco, Investec Derby runner-up At First Sight, as well as Dubai Sheema Classic heroine Dar Re Mi, Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Vase winner Daryakana and the ultra-consistent Youmzain.
Daryakana will bid to become the first female winner of the race since Time Charter in 1983. She was unbeaten in five starts as a 3-year-old and although she has failed to strike in two starts since the turn of the year, her trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre feels she is now in peak condition.
The other feature race on Saturday is the £100,000 Group 2 Sky Bet Stakes (10.05am) at York, in which Godolphin look to have a strong hand. The Dubai operation has triumphed in two of the first four renewals of the Sky Bet York Stakes courtesy of Stage Gift (2007) and last year’s winner Kirklees, and their total of five entries includes Cavalryman, who took third in last season’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, and Antara, successful in a Group Three at Epsom Downs in June.