The King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes have rightly established their mid-summer gem status in the middle distance crown and have seen the crème de la crème of the Classic Generation take on their elders in several epic clashes. since its inauguration 70 years ago.
Described as the “race of the century”, those who are old enough will never forget the battle royale between Grundy and Bustino in 1975 and the suspended final defeated Golan and Nayef in 2002.
The race has been confined to the older generation in recent years, with the remarkable Enable scoring a hat-trick and being the last three-year-old to win the race when he succeeded in 2017.
The depth of race quality is what makes the mile-and-a-half competition all the more special and, although it is only contested by five riders, the 2011 King George ranks among the best when Nathaniel provided William Buick with its first race winner.
Buick said: “I remember it was a really good race. Workforce had won the Derby and the Arc the year before and you had two very classy horses in the form of St Nicholas Abbey and Rewilding.
“Nathaniel had won the King Edward VII the previous time and was doing his first race in the Group 1 company. He had a little break after Royal Ascot, and he was working very well at home and Mr. Gosden was very happy with him. .
“The day he won really well, and it was a very straightforward race. He was a horse that liked to use his stride and I let him do that when the pace at the start was a bit slow.
“To be honest, it was obvious that the result was never in doubt. He was receiving the three-year allowance which was very useful, and he beat a strong field.”
So the dream of its early years had come true for Buick, which had been a frequent visitor to King George Day when he accompanied his father Walter on his racing reading homework for the Press Association.
He said: “I remember the first time I was at King George Day, it was when Golan beat Nayef and it was one hell of a fantastic race. I have very fond memories of King George and others. is a day for racing fans to savor. “
After winning the gold medal in 2011, William was embroiled in a cliff hanger the following year when he had to settle for money on Nathaniel.
The race was won on a nod by prolific German raider Danedream, who made full use of the mare’s allowance to score through a nose, with former rival St Nicholas Abbey a length and a half in the third.
“Nathaniel won the Eclipse that season and he didn’t lose anything in the loss that day. He did his best and we were beaten by a very small margin.
“It was frustrating to lose, but looking back now, but it was a great race and another day he could have been a double winner of King George. He was a very good horse with a fantastic will to win. . “
Nathaniel had been one of only three three-year-olds to triumph in the race over the past ten years, so what about the chances that Derby hero Adayar would add his name to the list on Saturday?
“As it always is and deserves to be, this year’s race is shaping up to be very good for the mid-summer highlight. It’s a good opportunity for the three-year-olds to meet the old one. generation and this year we have Adayar, ”Buick mentioned.
“He was an impressive winner of the Cazoo Derby and he faces off against Love, whose record speaks for itself.
“Lone Eagle was only one neck away from Hurricane Lane in the Irish derby and I led the winner to impressive success in the Paris Grand Prix at Longchamp last week.
“Mishriff is a very good horse and Wonderful Tonight showed how elegant she is when I rode her to beat Broome in the Hardwicke Stakes. It’s a good race and it’s going to be tough.
“It’s always a race where you find out where the three-year-olds are and how they stack up against the older horses. They obviously get this handy weight allowance which is very useful at this time of year and if you have a three-year that tips the scales in their favor.
“Adayar looks good and he’s a very calm horse who takes it all in his stride.
“I thought he was very impressive at Epsom, and it looks like he’s developed well. He’s going about his business very professionally, it’s a great race and I’m really looking forward to it. .
“It’s a race every jockeys dream of winning and it’s great to ride a Derby winner in such a special race.”