The King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes is a Group 1 race that is held at Ascot over a distance of one mile and four furlongs in July every year. Although comparatively young in the context of UK horse racing history, the ‘King George’ has developed into the one of the most prestigious races on the British racing calendar.
The Ascot racecourse is right-handed, and the King George race covers 1 mile and 4 furlongs of it. Group 1 thoroughbreds, that are at least three years of age, are eligible to run. The weight requirement varies, as younger horses may carry less than their older competition. Three-year-old fillies are required to carry 8 stones-7 lbs, and colts carry 8 stones-10 lbs. Older mares (4+yo) must carry 9 stones-3lbs, and the rest must carry 9 stones-7 lbs.
location: Ascot Racecourse
grade: Group 1
race type: Flat
The race was first held in 1951 to celebrate the Festival of Britain, and it quickly became a race of international Group 1 standard. Because of its position on the racing calendar, the King George quickly became a key lead up race to the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, which is one of the richest horse races in Europe and amongst the richest in the world. The purse for the King George is currently was set at £1,150,000 in 2017, making it the second richest horse race in the United Kingdom behind the Epsom Derby (as of 2017).
In its relatively brief history as a prestigious Group 1 race, the King George has been an event known for hosting the best modern horseracing has to offer with records worthy of Ascot Racetrack, where also King's Stand Stakesand Queen Anne Stakes take place.
No trainer has ever been able to dominate the King George Stakes, although Dick Hern, Sir Michael Stoute, and Saeed bin Suroor have all been successful in the race on five occasions.
Currently, Lester Piggott has won seven times and holds the record for most wins of any jockey to compete.
2010 winner Harbinger holds the record for most lengths (eleven).
The record holder for fastest time of 2 minutes and 24.60 seconds is Novellist. He won in 2013 ridden by Johnny Murtagh and trained by Andreas Wohler.
Though several champions have set records over the course since the King George and Queen Elizabeth Stakes was first run in 1951, these few have left a lasting impression (as of 2017).
The King George is an extremely difficult race to win, with only two horses, Dahlia (1973, 1974) and Swain (1997, 1998), successful on multiple occasions.
The King George Stakes roll of honour is littered with champions, with equine superstars such as Nijinsky, Mill Reef, Mtoto, King’s Theatre, Pentire, Montjeu, Galileo, Azamour, Hurricane Run, Dylan Thomas, Nathaniel, and Danedream all finding past success in this famous race.