The 2019 Qipco King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes
The 2019 Qipco King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes is a race that I will remember for as long as I am able to remember horseracing, write Mark Olley. I have read in the past day or so comparisons to the 1975 Grundy v Bustino King George and while I am old enough to remember that race I didn’t realise the significance of what I was watching then until later. I am fully aware of the significance of this year’s race and, what a race it was!
Sectional times confirm that this was a soundly run race from the start (these are freely available on www.ascot.co.uk along with the distance travelled during the race of each runner) and the first three home, Enable, Crystal Ocean and Waldgeist were all positioned around mid-division or further back. Enable clearly didn’t have things go to plan in that it took a while to get in from a wide draw and she was probably a touch further back than Frankie had anticipated. However, she showed her star quality by overcoming this and winning by a fairly ready looking neck in the end. My initial view was that she was really inconvenienced by her passage through the race and I was slightly surprised to see that she “only” covered 1.9 meters further than Crystal Ocean in second – that equates to somewhere between 0.5 and 0.75 of a length which converts to around a pound with things rounded up.
Factoring in the above and the style of victory I have called the winning neck margin 2lb and have her running to a rating of 126 (up 1lb from her pre-race 125). Five year race standards suggest a figure of 123, but I am comfortable being higher and 126 matches her performance when also winning the race in 2017 – she went on to be rated 128 that year after her Arc win.
Crystal Ocean came into the race rated 127 and ran a magnificent race conceding Enable the 3lb mares allowance. It takes two horses to make a great race and he played his part and more. As the above figures show he had a marginally better passage through the race than Enable and to my eyes looked like winning for a stride or two inside the final furlong.
He came into this race as the highest rated horse in the Longines World’s Best Racehorse list and it is a position he holds onto due to the fact that he was carrying 3lb more than Enable. However, as Enable will also get that allowance if/when they meet again the above ratings mean that we think Enable would win. In simplified terms a filly needs to have 3lb added to her rating to make a direct comparison with a colt/gelding.
I would also like to clarify that these are current BHA ratings and may not necessarily be replicated on the Longines list where representatives from all racing nations have a vote on the final figures.
I have Waldgeist running a career best rating of 124 (up 2lb) in third. Of the front three, he got the run of the race and covered 3.5 meters less than Enable, but he finished closer to Crystal Ocean than he did in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot. He seems to love Longchamp and finished a close fourth in the Arc last year.
The anomaly of having Enable on a lower rating than the horse she beat on Saturday, due to carrying less weight, got me thinking about what makes a top-class horse great. There is a list of horses, including Giants Causeway, Sea The Stars and possibly Frankel that didn’t seem to get the rating that maybe people thought they deserved. Ratings measure a performance on a given day, they are influenced by numerous factors including the rivals a horse meets and the way a race is run. If these are not favourable then it is hard for a horse to achieve a high rating. Meanwhile there are qualities like longevity, toughness and lovability which we all value, but can’t be factored into a horses rating. I think Enable is great, I think the King George was one of the best races I have seen and I hope the above helps explain why she is rated 126.