King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes sponsored by QIPCO
|Group 1, Ascot 15:35
£1,250,000 guaranteed, 3yo plus,
1m 3f 211y, Class 1
1 Hukum 13/2
2 Westover 7/1
3 King Of Steel 9/2
10 ran NR: Hamish Distances: hd, 4½l, 3¼l
Time: 2m 33.95s (slow by 4.25s)
Auguste Rodin disappoints as the @ojburrows74 trained Hukum under @JimCrowley1978 gets the better of Westover in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes @Ascot pic.twitter.com/mgS0eRQnvg https://t.co/emWeFgJp43 via @RacingBetter— RacingBetter (@RacingBetter) July 30, 2023
A field of 10 runners went to post for the Ascot’s midsummer highlight and the mile-and-a-half contest was rightly billed as the race of the season so far.
Always travelling well in the middle of the pack under Jim Crowley, the six-year-old moved up to challenge Westover for the lead passing the two-furlong marker and the pair settled down to fight it out from there.
No quarter was given by either horse or jockey, but it was the Owen Burrows-trained Hukum who just found most for pressure to win a race for the ages by a head.
The disappointment of the race was dual Derby winner Auguste Rodin. The 9-4 favourite was trapped wide throughout, came under pressure racing down the back straight and weakened quickly before being eased right down by Ryan Moore, eventually passing the post in last place.
Burrows said: “I’m just speechless. He’s an absolute star, isn’t he.
“It is a big team effort – I have a great team behind me. My head lad rides him every day, John Lake.
“To be honest, we felt he has never been better, this season for whatever reason, he’s shown a lot more speed. But what a tough horse – and he had to be, because the second didn’t lay down, did he? He made us fight all the way.
“What a race. It lived up to its spectacle. I’m a bit hoarse from shouting.
“What can you say about him – he’s an absolute star. I can’t put into words what it means. I’m in my second season as a public trainer and we have a great team. The guys back at Shadwell rehabbed him after his injury at Epsom – huge credit to them.
“It was the type of injury that wouldn’t retire a horse, but he’d just won a Group One and he was five, so you think – hats off to Sheikha Hissa for giving him a chance.”
He added: “This horse has been a huge part of my career. He is my first Royal Ascot winner, first Group One winner and he won in Dubai when we first went out after the sad passing of Sheikh Hamdan, so to come back and so what he’s done is just amazing.”
An emotional Angus Gold, racing manager for owners Shadwell, told Sky Sports Racing: “Amazing, a huge, fantastic result.
“What a horse he is to come back from a serious injury, they did brilliantly at the stud to get him back, and Owen has been very patient with him.
“It means a great deal to Sheikha Hissa, with the horse bred by her father (Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum).”
Crowley said: “It was a performance of pure determination. The race went smoothly, I had a nice position, I got onto the back of Westover turning in and had to hope that something didn’t come from out of the pack because in fairness to the second, he didn’t lie down.
“Full credit to Sheikha Hissa because this horse could quite easily have gone off to stud after winning the Coronation Cup, being how he’s bred, but they decided to keep him in training and they’ve been rewarded.
“It’s a good training performance as well. This horse was off for a while, it was a brave decision not to run in the Hardwicke (at Royal Ascot last month) and it came to fruition today.
“It was the best King George on paper I’ve seen for a while and it was nice for him to win in the manner that he did.”
King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes
(Sponsored By Qipco) (British Champions Series) (Group 1)
£1,250,000 guaranteed, 3yo plus, 1m 3f 211y, Class 1
Going: Good to Soft, Good in places
POS. (DRAW) DIST HORSE AGE WGT TRAINER JOCKEY SP
1 (4) Hukum 6 9-9 Owen Burrows Jim Crowley 13/2
2 (10) hd Westover 4 9-9 Ralph Beckett Rob Hornby 7/1
3 (3) 4½ King Of Steel 3 8-12 Roger Varian Kevin Stott 9/2
4 (1) 3¼ Luxembourg 4 9-9 A P O'Brien Seamie Heffernan 14/1
5 (6) ¾ Pyledriver 6 9-9 William Muir & Chris Grassick P J McDonald 17/2
6 (2) 13 Bolshoi Ballet 5 9-9 A P O'Brien Sean Levey 125/1
7 (8) 5½ Emily Upjohn 4 9-6 John & Thady Gosden Frankie Dettori 7/2
8 (5) 1½ Point Lonsdale 4 9-9 A P O'Brien Adam Kirby 80/1
9 (9) 40 Deauville Legend 4 9-9 James Ferguson Oisin Murphy 33/1
10 (11) 58 Auguste Rodin 3 8-12 A P O'Brien Ryan Moore 9/4F
NR 3 (7) Hamish 7 9-9 William Haggas NON RUNNER