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A Guide to the 2022 King George Diamond Weekend

The King George Weekend delivers high-class horseracing and is focused around the centrepiece event the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth QIPCO Stakes. Taking place at Ascot, the weekend provides a casual feel that can be enjoyed by families complete with champagne, cocktails, food and live music. Whist everybody is enjoying the relaxed atmosphere and luxury of Ascot, the pressure rides on the horses, jockeys and trainers to race in some of the flat season’s most prestigious events.

This year The King George Diamond weekend will take place on Friday 22 and Saturday 23 July, attracting thousands of racegoers to Ascot. On each day there will be seven race cards providing plenty of thrilling horseracing entertainment. On Friday there will be some great races including the Valiant Stakes, Winkfield Stakes and the Princess Margarat Stakes. The focal points of Saturday are the Moet and Chandon International Stakes (Heritage Handicap) and The King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

Ascot Racecourse

Ascot racecourse has a long and rich history. It was founded in 1711 by Queen Anne and is situated in Berkshire approximately 6 miles from Windsor Castle. Roughly 600,000 spectators visit this dual-purpose racecourse each year to watch some of the finest flat and jump racing. Hosting 18 flat meetings each year, Ascot boasts 13 of Britain’s 36 Group One races during the flat season. Some of the Group One races include the Gold Cup, St James’s Palace Stakes and the Commonwealth Cup.

The King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes

The focal point of the weekend, the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes will be run on Saturday 23 July with runners under orders at 15:35 GMT.  It is one of the richest Group One flat races of the season with the total purse in 2021 being approximately £875,000 with the winner taking the fair share of near on £500,000. It remains one of the most sought-after open age races in the calendar and it is open to horses of three years old and upwards and is raced over one and a half miles. Weight allowances in the race include 4lb for runners from the southern hemisphere, 3lb for mares and fillies and 11lb for three-year-olds.

Despite Ascot being some three hundred years old, the King George IV and Quenn Elizabeth Stakes was first run in July 1951. It was created through an amalgamation of the King George two-mile race and in addition to honour his wife, Queen Elizabeth. Over the years and through sponsorship the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth stakes has become the second richest flat race of the season.

It takes quite a horse with special ability to win one of the biggest flat races of the season three times. This is exactly what Enable did in 2017, 2019 and 2020 in a career that witnessed the horse win 15 of her 19 races. Enable went on to win 11 Group One races including the Irish Oaks, Epsom Oaks, Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and the Eclipse Stakes. Winning such races resulted in Enable being nominated European horse of the year in 2017 and 2019.

Enable won each of her three races with the same jockey so it comes as no surprise that this jockey has the joint leading number of wins at the King George and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. Frankie Dettori has seven wins to his name with his other wins coming with Lammtarra in 1995, Swain 1998, Daylami 1999 and Doyen in 2004. Alongside Frankie is none other than Lester Piggott who seems to always top the historic leading jockey charts. Lester Piggott rode Meadow Court in 1965, Aunt Edith 1966, Park Top 1969, Nijinsky, 1970, Dahlia 1974, The Minstrel 1977 and Teenoso in 1984.

When considering the leading winning trainer look no further than Sir Michael Stoute. He has managed to train six winners at the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. His wins were complimented by the famous Shergar in 1981, Opera House 1993, Golan 2002, Conduit 2009, Harbinger 2010 and Poets’ Word in 2018. Can Sir Michael increase his tally this year on race day?

The leading number of wins for an owner comes from Michael Tabor. His horses brought him success on six different occasions. Those horses were Montieu in 2000, Galileo 2001, Hurricane Run 2006, Dylan Thomas 2007, Duke of Marmalade 2008 and Highland Reel in 2016. Michael Tabor is a businessman who has made his riches as a bookmaker and owner of racehorses.

Facts and Points to Ponder for the 2022 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes

Let’s take a look at the trainers to get us under starters orders. Mark Johnston is not an unknown at Ascot and has had success in the Coronation Stakes, Gold Cup (three-time winner) and the St James’s Palace Stakes. If he has a runner in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes then it may be something to consider. Richard Hannon has the most winners at the King George weekend with 27 but alike Mark Johnston, he has never had success in the featured race. With over 1300 winners to his name Sir Mark Prescott may be worth looking out for at Ascot due to a high win ratio. Check the listings before the event and be aware of Sir Michael Stoute and his quest for supremacy, John Gosden who has the best record in the race in the last 20 starts and Aidan O’Brien.

Looking at the riders Adam Kirby has had a good time at Ascot winning Group One races. Keep an eye out for his mounts as he has won the Commonwealth Cup, Diamond Jubilee Stakes and the King’s Stands Stakes. Maybe Frankie Dettori will jump on and steal the show to become the all-time leading jockey in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes?

Horses wearing blinkers have only won twice in the last 26 starts of the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. Out of the last 20 starts there has been 12 British winners, 5 from Ireland, 2 from Germany and one from France.

If you are interested in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes then remember six other races take place at the King George Diamond Weekend Saturday 23 July 2022. The horses participating on the race cards are not yet announced for the 2022 King George Diamond Weekend and you may consider paying attention to races leading up to the event including, the Coronation Cup, Epsom Derby and the Eclipse Stakes.

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