King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes Stats and Trends

Hot on the heels of the major summer festivals of Royal Ascot, the Newmarket July Festival, and Glorious Goodwood comes one of the most prestigious all-age events of the season, as Ascot plays host to the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

Taking place towards the tail end of July and first held in 1972, this 1m4f affair has been won by a number of all-time greats including Nijinsky, Mill Reef, Brigadier Gerard and Shergar, to name just four. Offering £1.25m in total prize money, the King George may sit behind the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in terms of global status but remains the biggest event of its type held on British shores.

Invariably attracting the most talented older horses in training and a selection of stars from the Classic generation, the contest makes for a thrilling spectacle, but what does it take to win? Here we take a look at the recent trends from this summertime sizzler.

Age of the Winner

King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes - Age of Winner

As we can see from the above chart, the younger performers have dominated the race over the years, with 61 of the 72 editions to date (84.70%), having been won by a three or four-year-old. Superstars Swain (1998) and Enable (2020) were the only runners to carry enough class into their six-year-old campaign to prevail, whilst no horse aged seven or above has ever come home in front.

King George 10-Year Age Trends

Age No. Runners Wins Strike Rate £1 Level Stakes Results
3 21 3 14.29% -£11
4 25 3 12.00% -£7.88
5 17 3 17.65% +£6.47
6 5 1 20.00% -£3.56
7 4 0 0.00% -£4

The three and four-year-olds have again fared well when looking only at the past 10 editions of the race, although they have been equalled in terms of wins – and bettered in terms of strike rate – by the five-year-olds, courtesy of the wins of Poet’s Word (2018), Enable (2019) and Pyledriver (2022). That 18/1 success of Pyledriver was enough to push the five-year-old category into a level stakes profit over the period. Enable became only the second six-year-old to land the prize when winning the race for a third time in 2020.

Fate of the Favourites

When looking at the 23 editions held in the current century, the market has been a solid guide. A total of 12 favourites have come home in front over this period – including six consecutive winning jollies between 2004 and 2009. That represents an impressive 52.17% winning percentage for the favourite, which compares favourably with the 30% expectation across all races. There have been several pretty short prices in that mix, including Montjeu at 1/3 (2000), Galileo at 1/2 (2001) and Enable at 8/15 in 2019 and 4/9 in 2020. Nevertheless, those to have sided with the market leader since the year 2000 would have squeezed out a profit of £1.66 to £1 level stakes.

Sadler’s Wells Breeding Line Is Strong

Year Winner Sire Dam Sire
2000 Montjeu Sadler’s Wells Top Ville
2001 Galileo Sadler’s Wells Miswaki
2002 Golan Spectrum Generous
2003 Alamshar Key Of Luck Shahrastani
2004 Doyen Sadler’s Wells Kris
2005 Azamour Night Shift (Half-brother to Sadler’s Wells) Lear Fan
2006 Hurricane Run Montjeu (Son of Sadler’s Wells) Surumu
2007 Dylan Thomas Danehill Diesis
2008 Duke Of Marmalade Danehill Kingmambo
2009 Conduit Dalakhani Sadler’s Wells
2010 Harbinger Dansili Bering
2011 Nathaniel Galileo (Son of Sadler’s Wells) Silver Hawk
2012 Danedream Lomitas Danehill
2013 Novellist Monsun Lagunas
2014 Taghrooda Sea The Stars Sadler’s Wells
2015 Postponed Dubawi Dubai Destination
2016 Highland Reel Galileo (Son of Sadler’s Wells) Danehill
2017 Enable Nathaniel (Son of Galileo) Sadler’s Wells
2018 Poet’s Voice Dubawi Chief’s Crown
2019 Enable Nathaniel (Son of Galileo) Sadler’s Wells
2020 Enable Nathaniel (Son of Galileo) Sadler’s Wells
2021 Adayar Frankel (Son of Galileo Dubawi
2022 Pyledriver Harbour Watch Le Havre

Sadler’s Wells couldn’t quite manage to claim this prize during his racing career – finishing second to Teenoso in 1981 – but he has certainly impacted the race as a stallion. The sire of back-to-back winners with Opera House (1993) and King’s Theatre (1994), he has continued to leave his mark in the current century.

All told, three of the past 23 winners were sired by Sadler’s Wells, a further three by one of his sons, an additional four by one of his grandsons, and one by his half-brother Night Shift. When not present on the sire side of the pedigree, Sadler’s Wells has regularly been in evidence on the dam side, being the dam sire of five of the past 14 winners of the race.

Second to Sadler’s Wells in terms of breeding influence is the great Danehill, who sired two winners and acted as the dam sire to a further two, whilst 2009 champ Harbinger was sired by his son, Dansili. What Sadler’s Wells and Danehill have in common is that they are both descendants of the great Northern Dancer – Sadler’s Wells being his son, and Danehill his grandson.

Leading Trainers

King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes - Top Trainers

Legendary Newmarket handler Sir Michael Stoute leads the way in the trainers’ table, narrowly ahead of Newmarket compatriot John Gosden. With Saeed bin Suroor and, particularly, Aidan O’Brien still churning out Group 1 winners at a rate of knots, Stoute may have a battle on his hands to hold onto the lead in the coming years.

Top Jockeys

King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes - Top Jockeys

Two of the most famous riders in the history of the sport sit atop the jockeys’ table in the shape of the brilliant Lester Piggott and the ever-popular Frankie Dettori. Set to retire at the end of 2023, Dettori has the chance to move out on his own at the head of the standings on what will be his final ride in the race.