King George still producing world champions

By William Buick

I am looking forward to an exciting week ahead, with Ascot's G1 King George meeting followed by five days of Glorious Goodwood. It is a brilliant time of the season, particularly when you have good rides in the big races.

The King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, to give the race its full title, is a mid-summer highlight of the British racing year. First run in 1951, long before I was born, it has always produced outstanding winners.

The Roll of Honour illustrates just how good it has been in celebrating proper world champions, with names such as Ribot, Nijinsky, Mill Reef, Brigadier Gerard, Shergar and Dancing Brave featuring prominently.

I won the 2011 King George on the John Gosden-trained three-year-old Nathaniel and was also second on him the following year.

Godolphin's Jack Hobbs, my mount in this year's King George, has an excellent chance, especially as he is coming back to a mile and a half on rain-softened ground, two major factors in his favour.

But we will all have to produce our A-game to beat Enable, a dual-Oaks winner, who was impressive with wide-margin victories at Epsom and the Curragh.

As a matter of interest, she is a daughter from the first crop of Nathaniel, further enhancing her credentials for the King George.

Jack Hobbs, an Irish Derby winner, showed what he can do at his top when he comfortably defeated a good field in the G1 Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan on Dubai World Cup night in March.

Next time out, it is fair to say he was uncomfortable on the ground when eighth to Highland Reel in the G1 Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot.

It was too fast for him and he never let himself down on that ground.

He has won five of his 11 races, and has been placed in another four. He will have conditions to suit this time, but he must give 14lb to Enable.

I am excited to be riding Ribchester again at Goodwood next week. He runs in the G1 Sussex Stakes on Wednesday. He is top, top class.

It will be very busy, as we at Godolphin are also introducing some nice two-year-olds. As I said earlier in this column, it is an exciting time of the season, and I am hoping to make the most of it.