St Nicholas Abbey may be the stand-out favourite to win the King George and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot, but the record of his age group in the Group 1 contest suggest that he is worth opposing.
The good news for fans of St Nicholas Abbey is that his trainer Aidan O’Brien is responsible for two of the last six winners and the market leader has done the business in six of the last 10 renewals.
A victory in the Coronation Cup at Epsom last time should additionally help put him spot on for his Ascot appearance, but this is a race that has been dominated by those aged four and younger in recent times.
The last five-year-old winner was Daylami back in 1999 and only once in the history of the contest, which dates back to 1951, has a horse aged six triumphed.
St Nicholas Abbey is now six and as well as his preparations have gone at the Curragh, siding with a four-year-old may prove a profitable ploy.
This age group has won eight of the last 10 showdowns and Novellist is the four-year-old that makes the most appeal this time from the seven among the current 15 entries.
Based on his two victories already this season, Novellist appears to have improved over the winter from three to four and stays the trip of 1m4f especially well.
He will certainly be a major player if the early pace is relatively quick and he can get into a good position on the shoulder of the leaders, from which he can take up the running with around 2f remaining.
If nothing else the King George will prove a guide to Novellist’s chances for the Prix De l’Arc De Triomphe later in the season, for which he can be backed at 16/1.
Like St Nicholas Abbey, Cirrus Des Aigles is another that may be best written off by the age trend as he is bidding to become the first seven-year-old winner, with Dubai World Cup runner-up Red Cadeaux facing the same scenario.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.