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Friday 17th June 2022
   

More Success for Desert Crown?

Could the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes produce another win for Desert Crown? If that is the case, it’d be the second successive year that the Epsom Derby winner has gone on to win this Group 1 race held at Ascot.

2021 saw the surprise Epsom Derby winner Adayar take place in the race. He won by one and three quarter lengths in a race that sees three-year-olds now having to take on older more experienced horses.

Adayar was the first three-year-old to win this race since Enable in 2017 who went on to win this Group 1 on a record three occasions. Of the last 18 editions of this race, a three-year-old has only won four times.

Can Desert Crown add to that list? His trainer is Sir Michael Stoute and he certainly knows how to win this race. He holds the record for training six winner of the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. His last success was in 2018 with Poet’s Word.

Desert Crown has had two big wins this season. He was down the horse racing betting list for the Epsom Derby before a comfortable win in the Dante Stakes at York. That performance saw him become the favourite at Epsom and he won the Derby by two and a half lengths after being eased down and is 13/8 to win this race.

This race is also open to fillies and Emily Upjohn is one of the leading fancies to win at Ascot. Trained by John and Thady Gosden, this runner has won three of her four races. The only defeat came in the Epsom Oaks when losing by a short head to Tuesday. Emily Upjohn is currently 5/1 to win this race.

There were excuses for that narrow defeat. The Aidan O’Brien trained runner stumbled at the start of the race. That caused the filly to lose several lengths, so to lose by just a short head was a pretty good performance and a similar one at Ascot would make life difficult for Desert Crown.

One fact to always remember is that being a filly, Emily Upjohn will receive 3lbs from Desert Crown and a carry a a stone less than some of the older horses.

That includes Hurricane Lane who is four years-old and 5/1 to win at Ascot. He won the Dante Stakes last year but only finished third in the Epsom Derby. Losing both his front shoes didn’t help his chances of success.

Hurricane Lane bounced back well to win three Group 1 races. Those included the Irish Derby and the final English classic of the year, the St Leger. Heavy ground didn’t help him in the Arc and he only finished third. This will be his first race of 2022 but the Charlie Appelby trained runner will be an interesting contender despite having to give weight away.

Adayar will be attempting to win for a second successive year. Since following up the Derby win with Ascot success, he’s been beaten in the Arc and the Champion Stakes.  Better ground might help but he hasn’t raced since last October and has more weight to carry. At 6/1 he could run into a place but as shown last year, is more than capable of springing a surprise.

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