Talking Horses: Love can continue recent fine record of fillies in King George

Love can continue the recent fine record of fillies in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes by seeing off Derby hero Adayer in Ascot’s midsummer showpiece.
Talking Horses: Love can continue recent fine record of fillies in King George

Love and Ryan Moore winning in Ascot in June for trainer Aidan O’Brien. Picture: Healy Racing

Love can continue the recent fine record of fillies in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes by seeing off Derby hero Adayar in Ascot’s midsummer showpiece.

Back in 2012, Dane Dream became the first filly to win the prestigious Group 1 since Time Charter in 1983. We didn’t have to wait long for the next as Taghrooda took the honours just two years later.

And 12 months ago Enable, first successful in the King George in 2017, broke new ground by winning the race for a record third time.

Now Love has the chance to add her name to an illustrious roll of honour.

Like stablemate Snowfall, Love showed little as a two-year-old, losing more races than she won in a busy juvenile campaign.

However, again like Snowfall, Love was a very different proposition as a three-year-old, winning the 1000 Guineas, the Epsom Oaks, and Yorkshire Oaks in imperious style.

The hope was she and Enable would clash in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in October but rain-softened ground resulted in Aidan O’Brien taking his star filly out of the contest.

Love returned to action at Royal Ascot last month, winning the Prince of Wales’s Stakes in workmanlike fashion.

The Galileo filly should strip fitter for that run and will surely relish the return to 12 furlongs.

It could be argued that Love has yet to beat a top-class rival but the ease with which she dispatched her rivals in her Classic year strongly suggests she’s a bit special.

And if she can deliver on Saturday, all doubts will surely be banished as this looks a top-quality contest.

Adayar is an obvious danger. Beaten on his first two starts this season, he came good in spectacular fashion in the Derby, staying on strongly to pull clear of his Epsom rivals.

Galileo was the last colt to complete the Derby/King George double way back in 2001 but that stat is a trifle misleading as only three Epsom victors in that two-decade timescale — Kris Kin (2003), Workforce (2010), and Anthony Van Dyck (2019) — went on to run at Ascot.

The fact Love will have to concede 8lb to Adayar due to the weight-for-age allowance is an obvious plus for the Godolphin colt and even a marginal improvement from his Epsom performance would make him a massive threat.

However, the suspicion remains that the Frankel colt will need the threatened thunderstorms to make their presence felt at Ascot if he is to lower the colours of the ground-dependent Love.

Irish Derby runner-up Lone Eagle also has to enter calculations. Martyn Meade’s charge missed Epsom after a late setback but ran a massive race behind Hurricane Lane at the Curragh.

Whether he can improve sufficiently to get the better of the two market leaders is open to debate but it would be no great surprise were he makes his presence felt.

As for the rest of the line-up, Wonderful Tonight will need the thunderstorms to really get into the ground to be seen to best effect, Mishriff will have to take a massive step forward from a lacklustre performance in the Coral-Eclipse last time out, while Broome, the likely pacemaker, looks out of his depth in this elite company.

It promises to be a cracking contest but, as long as the thunderstorms hold off, Love should conquer all.

Big-race verdict

1: Love

2: Adayar

3: Lone Eagle

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