King George preview: Anthony Van Dyck value in Ascot summer showpiece

Published on: July 25, 2019
Author: David Metcalf
2019 King George preview from Ascot includes Epsom Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck

Anthony Van Dyck looks cracking value at 8/1 with BetVictor in a stellar renewal of the 1m 4f Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on Saturday (15:40).

This three-year-old colt is one of four Aidan O’Brien trained runners in the race and posed very smart form as a juvenile.

After notching a hat-trick of successes, he ran very well when a 1 3/4 lengths runner-up to Quorto in the Group 1 National Stakes on Irish Champions Weekend at The Curragh.

He also posted a solid effort when third to champion two-year-old Too Darn Hot in the Dewhurst at Newmarket and looked the type well come into his own this season when stepped up to middle distances.

That view was confirmed in no uncertain manner when Anthony Van Dyck landed the Listed 1m 3f Derby Trial at Lingfield on reappearance. He then followed-up in the premier Classic itself at Epsom.

Derby form looks strong

Anthony Van Dyck dug deep for pressure and overcame trouble in-running to get up close home and beat Madhmoon by half-a-length.

The third home Japan has since come out and bolted up by 4 1/2 lengths in a Group 2 at Royal Ascot, before landing the Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp.

Epsom Derby sixth Circus Maximus has also gone on to taste success at the highest level when landing the Group 1 St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot. That gives the form a solid look.

Although beaten six lengths when runner-up to stable companion Sovereign last time out in the Irish Derby, that was a farcical run affair in which jockey Ryan Moore gave Anthony Van Dyck far to much to do.

The son of Galileo is much better than that. As he gets 8lb weight-for-age from Enable, he comes out 1lb clear of that rival on adjusted ratings.

So, at the odds on offer, Anthony Van Dyke looks overpriced and a rock solid each-way betting proposition in the King George.

Enable odds-on for 11th straight success

Wonder mare Enable has won her last 10 races, when ridden by Frankie Dettori every time, and the duo are 8/13 favourites with William Hill to bag another big race success.

The John Gosden trained daughter of Nathaniel already has an incredible eight Group/Grade 1 victories on her glittering CV.

They include a runaway success in the King George two years ago. plus consecutive Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe triumphs.

Last year, she also became the first Arc winner to follow-up at the Breeders’ Cup. Connections decided to keep Enable in training as a five-year-old following her transatlantic success at Churchill Downs.

That bold decision was vindicated when she ran out a decisive winner on seasonal reappearance in the Group 1 Coral-Eclipse over 1m 2f at Sandown earlier this month.

After travelling strongly on the heels of the leaders, Dettori produced Enable to take up the running two from home.

Magical then came out of the pack to throw down a strong challenge, but Enable was always doing enough and in the end won a shade cosily.

Given that Gosden had said before hand that she was between 80 and 90 per cent, it was a most taking performance on her first start for eight months.

There is no doubt that Enable is one of the best fillies ever, but this race does come quite quickly after the Coral-Eclipse.

She is entitled to be favourite, but whether such cramped odds are justified is another matter. For that reason alone Enable looks worth taking on.

Crystal Ocean a major player under Doyle

Crystal Ocean, with an official rating of 127, is 2lb superior to Enable according to the handicappers and is unbeaten in three starts this term.

He put in a career-best performance last time out at Royal Ascot when beating Magical by 1 1/4 lengths and notching a much deserved first Group 1 success in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes.

That is strong form and the son of Sea The Stars ran a cracker in the King George 12 months ago when a neck second to stablemate Poet’s Word.

Jockey William Buick arguably kicked for home too early that day and James Doyle, who was aboard the winner, now partners the five-year-old for the first time.

He looks the ideal partner for the ultra-tough and consistent Crystal Ocean, who has won eight times and made the frame on every other occasion in 15 career starts.

Trainer Sir Michael Stoute also has a fine record in the prestigious £1,250,000 contest having won it six times. Another plus is that Crystal Ocean is tactically versatile and can race on or off the pace.

His profile is rock solid and a bold bid to go one better than last year looks assured. Betway make Crystal Ocean a 3/1 chance to do just that.

Defoe in the form of his life

Andrea Atzeni enjoyed victory in the King George aboard the Sheikh Mohammed Obaid-owned Postponed in 2015 and will be hoping to repeat the trick in the same silks aboard Defoe.

This Roger Varian trained five-year-old has always been held in the highest regard and comes into this in the form of his life having landed a brace of group successes.

After bursting through a gap inside the final furlong to get up and beat Kew Gardens by half-a-length in the Group 1 Coronation Cup at Epsom, the son of Dalakhani landed the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot by a similar margin from Nagano Gold.

Defoe was value for more than the winning margin in the latter. On both occasions he had re-opposing duo Salouen and Morando well adrift, so has nothing to fear from those rivals.

This is by far the stiffest task that he has faced to date, but he is clearly thriving and this race could well be run to suit a closer like him.

So, at 14/1 with Betfair, Defoe looks an each-way player in what is a mouthwatering renewal of the King George.