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Ascot - King George VI

This weekend sees the latest revival of the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot, and with the former favourite Postponed ruled out due to illness, the race looks like it could be a very exciting battle indeed.

Now dueling for the coveted favourite spot at the bookies are Highland Reel and Dartmouth. Highland Reel has plenty going for him, having apparently returned to his very best form in his last outing when he came a close second to Dartmouth in the Hardwicke Stakes here at Ascot. There are excuses to be made for his second place finish, too, having been drawn wide and run hard throughout, plus his jockey lost the whip and couldn't ride him to the full.

There are plenty of people who think Highland Reel could therefore reverse that form here with a better draw and ground more suiting, and we think he's in with a strong chance of winning. The best place to back him is at BetFred, who'll give you a decent 5/2.

That said, Dartmouth, who is a late substitute for Postponed, certainly has claims on this race himself. He was a big improver last season and he looks to have carried that into this season with three straight wins, including that career-best victory over Highland Reel in the Hardwicke.

He's also two from two under jockey Olivier Peslier, and no doubt many will be willing the Queen's horse on to win the race named after her parents. The best place to back him is at StanJames, who are offering a market leading 3/1.

There's one more horse and jockey combination that we can't rule out, though, and that's Wings Of Desire under Frankie Dettori. The horse has improved dramatically since the start of the season, including landing the Dante Stakes at York. He was beaten in to fourth in the Derby but trainer GOsden believes that the ground there was too slow for him.

Ascot on Saturday may suit him better, and if anyone can get a result out of him it's Dettori. The best place to back him is at 888Sport, whose price of 4/1 is the best we've found anywhere.

Saturday Racing - Newbury July Cup

Newmarket is hosting two Cups on Saturday afternoon, and the July Cup is the first one off at 16:35.

Current favourite is Limato, and despite his step up to 1m in the Lockinge looking like it didn't quite take, he's still very much in consideration here. The step from 6f to 7f seemed to suit him last season, and he took a group 2 victory as well as several very decent second placed finishes as a result.

It remains to be seen how well he can contend dropping back to this trip but stepping up in class. The ground should suit him, and his performances overall have always given the impression that when everything goes right he should be all but uncatchable. We think he's worth a punt here, and the best place to back him is at BetFred, at a very decent 6/1.

A little further down the listings we have two longer odds horses to choose between.

Quiet Reflection has been superb this year, and has won six of her seven starts overall. She looked extremely capable at Haydock in May, running away from everybody on good ground which should play into her hands again on Saturday. She did well on softer ground to land the Commonwealth Cup, and she has shown herself to be an improver.

We think she's going to be a strong contender, and the best place to back her is at Ladbrokes, at a price of 8/1.

The other horse we'd consider is Profitable. He's unbeaten in three starts this season, and, like Queit Reflection, has also demonstrated that he is a very progressive sprinter. He came fifth behind Muhaarar and Limato at last year's Commonwealth Cup, but has shown so much improvement since then that we don't believe that result should reflect on him at all.

Our only concern is that his best form is all over 5f, and this step up to 6f in tough company might be a little too much for him. Nonetheless, we think he's going to be there or thereabouts come the end, and he's well worth a look each way at 10/1 over at PaddyPower.

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