Horse racing betting: Desire can give punters wings in the King George

Bill Esdaile
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John Gosden’s Dante winner Wings Of Desire was a respectable fourth in the Derby last time out (Source: Getty)

Dual winners of the Qipco-sponsored King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes (4.30pm) are a real rarity – and sadly we won't be witnessing another at Ascot on Saturday.

That's because last year’s winner and this year's favourite, Postponed, was ruled out of his defence bid on Wednesday due to a respiratory infection. He was a 1/2 shot and would have been incredibly hard to beat.

It’s a real shame that he’s not taking part, but at least the race is now much more open from a betting perspective.

The Queen’s Dartmouth, who was supplemented earlier in the week, is now the market leader to win a race named in memory of the monarch's parents.

Having started the season rated 101, he’s now up to 119 after his win in the Group Two Hardwicke Stakes last month.

He’s certainly in the right hands as well, as his trainer Sir Michael Stoute has won this race a joint-record five times.

The only problem for me is his price – 2/1 just doesn’t leave any wriggle room.

Highland Reel was only just beaten by Dartmouth in the Hardwicke and there shouldn’t be much between them again.

Aidan O’Brien’s runner has landed a couple of Group One prizes so has to be respected.

However, three-year-olds get a huge weight allowance in this race, which is why I’m backing WINGS OF DESIRE.

John Gosden’s Dante winner was a respectable fourth in the Derby last time out when he didn’t really look in love with the course.

He’s been kept fresh for this and, as a full brother to last year’s runner-up Eagle Top, the demands of this race should suit perfectly.

His trainer has also won two of the last five renewals, so take the 4/1 with Betway.

The big betting race of the day is the Gigaset International Stakes (3.55pm) and I’m going to fire two bullets at this 26-runner seven-furlong handicap.

My first selection is Simon Crisford’s MUTAWATHEA who was an excellent third in the Bunbury Cup a fortnight ago and second over this course and distance back in May.

Promising 7lb claimer George Wood takes the ride and that could tip the balance in this five-year-old’s favour, who can be backed at 12/1 with Betway.

I also like the claims of BRAZOS after he bounced back to form at Doncaster last week.

He has some good form on this track, will relish the quick ground and James Tate’s yard is in excellent form. The 16/1 generally available is a very fair price.

My two against the field in the Woodford Reserve Handicap (3.20pm) both took part in the Britannia Handicap at the Royal meeting and will prefer tomorrow’s conditions.

ZODIAKOS ran really well in that race and then failed to stay 10 furlongs at Newmarket last time. He has been dropped a couple of pounds in the weights and Josephine Gordon takes off another 3lbs.

TAUREAN STAR is two from three at Ascot and he can improve on his ninth in the Britannia here for the in-form Michael Bell and Jamie Spencer.

If you’re thinking of going to Ascot tomorrow, there are still a limited number of places left in the outstanding Parade Ring Restaurant which is headlined by world famous chef Raymond Blanc.


Zodiakos e/w, 3.20pm Ascot

Taurean Star e/w, 3.20pm Ascot

Mutawathea e/w, 3.55pm Ascot

Brazos e/w, 3.55pm Ascot

Wings Of Desire, 4.30pm Ascot

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