Conditions suitable for Jack Hobbs in King George VI

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

July 28th, 2017

It's overshadowed in the American racing fan's consciousness this weekend by the excellent renewals of the Jim Dandy (G2) and Haskell Invitational (G1), but the weekend will kick off with a bang Saturday morning (10:35 a.m. EDT) with the $1.4 million-plus King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (G1) at Ascot.

Britain's premier 1 1/2-mile weight-for-age contest is must-see television, and could provide plenty of early clues for not only the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (G1) but also the Breeders' Cup Turf (G1) at Del Mar.

Kellie Reilly went through the field earlier this week before the final declarations whittled the final group down to 10. Two weeks ago, in a private message following ENABLE's dominating win in the Irish Oaks (G1), I asked Kellie whether we had just seen the potential Arc favorite. We most certainly will if she takes advantage of her 14-pound age/sex allowance on Saturday, giving trainer John Gosden his second King George win in the last four years with a three-year-old filly.

Picking against HIGHLAND REEL has been poison this spring as the the game, world traveler has notched back-to-back wins in the Coronation Cup (G1) and Prince of Wales's (G1) to go with victories in last year's King George and Breeders' Cup Turf (G1). IDAHO has ground to make up on his older brother and fellow Aidan O'Brien yard companion, but is on the improve following a score in the Hardwicke (G2), while ULYSSES exits a photo-finish win over Barney Roy in the Eclipse (G1).

If Enable should find the two-week turnaround too quick and if Highland Reel struggles on ground that is softer than he prefers, perhaps it might be wise to give JACK HOBBS (#4, 9-2) a chance to rebound from an awful run in the Prince of Wales's. Not only was the ground too fast for him the week of the Royal meeting, he's proven much more adept over 1 1/2 miles than 1 1/4 miles.

While the ground won't necessarily be as slow as it was when he turned in an impressive display in the Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) in March over Highland Reel, I'm hoping those two factors will give him a potential edge as the probable third choice in a sparkling renewal of this race. I'll bet Jack Hobbs to win and play him in Exactas with Enable.

The King George VI and Queen Elizabeth is Race 4 on the Ascot card. Free Brisnet PPs are available here.

(Melanie Martines photo)