The History of the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes

Good Morning!

Welcome to a new post here at zoelouisesmithx.com! Ahead of today’s renewal of the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes let’s take a look at the history of the race, some records in the race and a little look at today’s runners. Let’s get right into it!


The King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes is a Group 1 flat race which was inaugurated in 1951. The race is open to horses aged three and older. It is ran at Ascot racecourse in England over a distance of 1 mile, 3 furlongs and 211 yards and takes place in July each year. In 2020 the race was worth £400,000 with the winner receiving £226,840.

The race was formed as a result of an amalgamation of two separate races at Ascot, the first being the King George VI which was a 2 mile contest for three year olds held in October and the second being the Queen Elizabeth in honour of his wife which was a one and a half mile contest over one and a half miles held in July. The idea was raised by Major John Crocker Bulteel who was the Clerk of the Course at Ascot, who wanted to create an international race over one and a half miles for horses aged 3 or older. So the first ever run took place on July 21st in 1951.

In 2009, Betfair started to sponsor the race and its prize fund was increased from £750,000 to £1,000,000 and is now Britain’s second richest horse race, with a purse exceeded only by The Derby.

In 2011, the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes became part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series, so the winner now earns an automatic invitation to compete in the same year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf.


So let’s take a look at some of the previous winners!

The first winner in 1951 was 3 year old Supreme Court who won for jockey Charlie Elliott, trainer Evan Williams and owner Vera Lilley.

Skipping forward 5 years, in 1956 Ribot – who I wrote about in this post: https://zoelouisesmithx.com/2021/05/19/ten-undefeated-racehorses/ won the race at 4 years old for jockey Enrico Camici, trainer Ugo Penco and owner Mario della Rocchetta.

Skipping forward again, in 1970 Nijinsky won at 3 years old for Lester Piggott, Vincent O’Brien and Charles Engelhard, with 3 year old Mill Reef winning in 1971 for Geoff Lewis, Ian Balding and Paul Mellon. In 1973 and 1974 Dahlia won the race at 3 and 4 years old respectively for trainer Maurice Zilber and owner Nelson Bunker Hunt with Bill Pyers riding in 1973 and Lester Piggott in 1974.

Skipping forward again, in 1981 the brilliant Shergar won the race at 3 years old for Walter Swinburn, (Sir) Michael Stoute and HH Aga Khan IV. Skipping to 1997 and 1998 now where Swain won the race for trainer Saeed bin Suroor and owners Godolphin, in 1997 at 5 years old for jockey John Reid and in 1998 at 6 years old (one of two horses to win this at 6 years old) for Frankie Dettori.

In 2001, the late, great Galileo won the race at 3 years old under Michael Kinane for Aidan O’Brien and Magnier / Tabor. In 2011 Nathaniel won at 3 years old for William Buick, John Gosden and Lady Rothschild. In 2015 Postponed won at 4 years old for Andrea Atzeni, Luca Cumani and Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum.

In 2016 Highland Reel won at 4 years old for Ryan Moore, Aidan O’Brien and Magnier / Tabor / Smith. In 2017, 2019 and 2020 Enable won the race at 3, 5 and 6 years old (second of two to win this race at 6 years old) for Frankie Dettori, John Gosden and Khalid Abdullah. In the middle in 2018 Poet’s Word won at 5 years old for James Doyle, (Sir) Michael Stoute and Saeed Suhail.


So now onto some records in the race.

Firstly the oldest horse to win this race is joint between Swain and Enable who were both 6 years old when winning the race.

The most successful horse with 3 victories is Enable who won in 2017, 2019 and 2020.

The are two leading jockeys in the race both with 7 victories. Firstly Lester Piggott who won with Meadow Court (1965), Aunt Edith (1966), Park Top (1969), Nijinsky (1970), Dahlia (1974), The Minstrel (1977) and Teenoso (1984). And secondly Frankie Dettori who has won with Lammtarra (1995), Swain (1998), Daylami (1999), Doyen (2004) and Enable (2017, 2019, 2020).

The leading trainer with 6 victories is Sir Michael Stoute with Shergar (1981), Opera House (1993), Golan (2002), Conduit (2009), Harbinger (2010) and Poet’s Word (2018).

The leading owner, including part ownership, with 6 wins is Michael Tabor with Montjeu (2000), Galileo (2001), Hurricane Run (2006), Dylan Thomas (2007), Duke of Marmalade (2008) and Highland Reel (2016).


Now onto this years runners… Please not all odds are via Ladbrokes and are correct at the time of writing this post. (11pm on Thursday 22nd July 2021)

Of course we have the 5/4 favourite Love for Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore and I think she will be my pick this weekend. I think she’s a very impressive horse and has won over course and distance. I know Ryan can get into some questionable positions sometimes but I think Love is good enough to get him out of a tricky situation. She hasn’t lost a race since October 2019, winning the 1,000 Guineas, Oaks, Yorkshire Oaks and Prince of Wales’s since then. I really like the look of her and I, personally, will find it hard to bet against her.

Although, saying that this is a really competitive race. There are only 6 horses declared but between them they have won 11 Group 1’s and 4 Classics, so a very impressive line up and it should be a brilliant, competitive race, so let’s take a look at the other 5 runners.

Lining up alongside Love we have 9/4 shot Adayar for Charlie Appleby and William Buick. He’s ran the distance before and won The Derby just last month, so again another classy horse. Possibly more to offer after his Derby win and William Buick seems to be in good form also so I wouldn’t be surprised if he came close here.

Next up we have Lone Eagle for Martyn Meade and Frankie Dettori – currently a 5/1 shot. He came second by just a neck in the Irish Derby just a month or so ago clear of the 3rd placed horse. Again another horse you can’t rule out and Frankie Dettori has a habit of coming to the forefront in the big races so with him taking the ride anything is possible here.

We then have Mishriff for John & Thady Gosden and David Egan – currently around the 8/1 mark. Mishriff was very impressive the beginning of the year when winning the Saudi Cup and a Group 1 in Meydan and when returning to the UK he finished 3rd just a neck from Addeybb in the Coral Eclipse. Again not a horse we can rule out here, maybe 8/1 is a big price for a horse that could go very well here. He has won over this distance before, the big occasion won’t affect him at all and he and David seem to have a pretty good relationship so maybe one to watch.

We then have the 11/1 shot Wonderful Tonight for David Menuisier and Oisin Murphy. She has won course and distance before, winning 5 out of 9 races she has had in her career. Interestingly William Buick has rode her the last two times out, in which she won both, but here Champion Jockey Oisin Murphy takes the ride. Now Oisin is in top form lately and he cannot be ruled out whichever horse he rides. Is she as good as some of the others in this race? Maybe not. Could she still win here though if everything goes in her favour? Absolutely.

The final horse in the race is of course another Aidan O’Brien horse. Would this even be a Group 1 without multiple Aidan O’Brien horses? We have Broome at 28/1 under Wayne Lordan. For me 28/1 seems a big price, the second string horse for Aidan O’Brien but by no means a bad horse at all. Broome seems to have been around forever hasn’t he? Pretty impressive career so far and I don’t feel like he’s quite finished winning just yet. There are definitely better horses in the race here, but I definitely couldn’t rule him out. He won last time out in France over a very slightly longer distance of 1 mile 4 furlongs and he could very well win again here.

For me any of the 6 could win this race, they are all extremely talented horses and not one of them can be ruled out, however I am personally going with Love. I really do love her as a horse and I think she will show, once again, just how good she is. I couldn’t back against her, however any of the other 5 could win. It looks to be an absolutely brilliant renewal this year and one thing is for sure… If the running is as competitive as it looks on paper then we’re in for a very exciting race.


This years renewal looks to be an absolute cracker and I can’t wait to see who comes out on top. I will see you all Wednesday evening at 6pm for my last scheduled midweek post. If you did not see my previous post last weekend, from August I will only be doing 1 scheduled definite post on a Saturday and some extras throughout but not a guaranteed post every Wednesday as my current schedule just does not allow me the time to get two posts I am happy with up each week without burning myself out.

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