Sea of Class set for King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes


The dust has now settled after the 2019 Royal Ascot meeting, with some excellent races taking place over the five days and perhaps one of the biggest highlights was the Prince of Wales’s Stakes.

Crystal Ocean won a high-class renewal, although many punters were disappointed that Sea Of Class didn’t perform to her previous high standards, with the horse only able to finish in fifth place.

Trainer William Haggas had been nervous about his charge before the off and was clearly frustrated by the amount of rainfall which led to soft going, something which was not to the horse’s liking.

However, the handler has reported that Sea Of Class has a good bill of health and is ready to take her chances in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, with the mare currently trading at 6/1 to win at Ascot on her return.

"She's fine, thankfully," said the Newmarket trainer.

"The plan was always to go for the Prince of Wales's, and then the King George, so I don't see why that should change.

"All options are still open, and it will depend on what happens in the next couple of weeks. But as far as I'm concerned, she's absolutely fine - and I won't run her on soft again."

Sea Of Class had previously won the Irish Oaks and Yorkshire Oaks in 2018, with Enable currently trading as the 5/2 favourite to win the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

Enable is yet to make an appearance in 2019 although she won on all three starts in 2018 and the most recent success was the Breeders’ Cup Turf in November where the John Gosden-trained charge won at odds of 8/13.

Previously to this, Frankie Dettori rode her to success in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe where she finished ahead of Sea Of Class, with the latter running a creditable second to indicate that she could be a lively contender for the forthcoming race at Ascot.

Enable’s main focus is bidding to land a hat-trick of Arc titles, although it might be that she only runs in the Coral Eclipse at the beginning of July before heading to France in the autumn and it’s clear that connections are thinking primarily about one race.

Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to owner-breeder Khalid Abdullah, said in May: "Following a piece of work on the Limekilns [in Newmarket] this morning both John Gosden and Frankie Dettori feel Royal Ascot will come too soon for her.

"She will now be aimed at the Eclipse at Sandown on July 6. Her main target remains the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe."

Crystal Ocean was a highly impressive performer when winning the Prince of Wales’s Stakes and it looks likely that she will go off favourite for the race at Ascot if Enable is declared a non-runner.

Frankie Dettori rode a brilliant race on the filly who got herself into an excellent position coming off the bend at Royal Ascot before kicking clear of the field and landing victory.

It was yet another Royal Ascot victory for trainer Sir Michael Stoute, with Magical unable to get upsides her rival, with Dettori likely to be on board if Enable runs in the Eclipse before waiting for her big day in Paris.

Japan will lead the Aidan O’Brien attack in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, with the three-year-old registering his first victory of the season at Royal Ascot when winning the King Edward VII Stakes.

Ryan Moore was on board the 6/4 favourite for that particular race and the horse is held in particularly high-regard, with plenty of smart money coming for Japan ahead of the off and he’s 6/1 to land victory in this race.

Previously to this, Japan had run in the Epsom Derby where he’d found two horses too good for him and one of those was stablemate Anthony Van Dyck who is nevertheless trading at odds of 10/1 to win this particular encounter.

O’Brien hasn’t yet confirmed his plans for the race although we can be sure that the Irish trainer will have a strong army of horses for the encounter, with Magical potentially among them.

At the time of writing, there are 38 horses entered for the race at Ascot on 27 July, with this one mile and four furlongs encounter part of the British Champions Series and there is a maximum of nineteen horses that can eventually go to post.