Royal Ascot Handicaps 2022: King George V Stakes
Day 3 at Royal Ascot features three major handicaps, two for three-year-olds only. At £120,000, the one-mile Britannia Stakes for sophomore colts and geldings is the richest of them, but we will focus on the first one for the day, the £100,000 King George V Stakes, for three-year-olds of all genders over 1 1/2 miles.
The race is not only competitive, but it has thrown up some very good horses. Its 1986 winner, Moon Madness, later won the St Leger (G1), 2011 hero Brown Panther would become a Group 1 winner, while the 2020 victor, Hukum, stepped up earlier this month to win the Coronation Cup (G1) at Epsom.
This year’s race has attracted 19 runners, and is so even that the bookies’ favorite was at 7-1 two days out, so it looks a great betting contest.
A likely favorite is Aidan O’Brien’s #12 Newfoundland. A full brother to last year’s outstanding filly Snowfall, he took four starts to win but came good over 1 5/8 miles at Navan May 28, winning despite striking traffic problems in running. This is a step up again, however, and his odds seem to reflect his connections and breeding as much as his form.
#3 Israr and #8 Franz Strauss give John and Thady Gosden a good hand in the race, with Israr perhaps looking the better chance of the pair after a tough victory in a good field at Newbury. The horse Israr beat that day, #10 Surrey Mist, is a pound better off in this race and should also be considered for exotics at least.
Also double-handed is William Haggas, with #4 Mandobi and #14 Post Impressionist. Mandobi was a convincing winner at Thirsk May 14, while Post Impressionist was impressive at Ayr two starts back before finishing second to Wednesday's Queen's Vase (G3) winner Eldar Eldarov on the Newcastle Polytrack. The latter may appreciate the return to turf.
#5 Secret State gives Charlie Appleby a chance here for Godolphin. The son of Dubawi has won his last two in some style, and could well be headed for better things. He’s my main selection here.
Along with Newfoundland, the Irish challenge is headed by two other last-start winners, #2 Yashin and #9 Flying Dolphin. Yashin deserves to be considered, but Flying Dolphin is the one I like most. He was way too good at Gowran Park May 24, and looks set to stay 1 1/2 miles comfortably.
The other danger I see is the unbeaten #11 Savvy Knight. He has a great turn of foot and if the in-form James Doyle can get him the right path, he can be in the firing line.
Overall, it’s a very difficult race to pick. I will go for Secret State, with Flying Dolphin and Newfoundland his main dangers. Given the depth of the field, I will go quite wide with options for third.