The King George Diamond Weekend: Everything You Need to Know

July 21, 2021

The QIPCO King George Diamond Weekend is almost upon us. Taking place on Friday July 23rd and Saturday July 24th, the two-day event at Ascot is one of the most prestigious in the horse racing calendar.

Built around the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth QIPCO Stakes, this celebratory weekend is open to the public this year and typically attracts thousands of visitors. It will also be aired on Sky Sports, with some races being broadcast on ITV1, meaning its potential audience could be in the millions.

Will you bet on the festivities?

The event includes some of the finest horses in the world and this year is looking very promising in terms of talent. For those interested in horse racing betting online, top sportsbooks such as 888 Sport are offering fantastic odds to punters and some incredible joining offers.

The dual-Classic winning filly Love, made a stellar return to form this year, Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot and staking her claim as the horse to beat at the King George Diamond Weekend.

Indeed, the field opened up after the retirement of Enable, who won this stakes race for the past two years, earning a record-breaking third win in this event overall, having previously won it back in 2017. Each time she was jockeyed by the legendary Frankie Dettori and trained by John Gosden.

Adayar is another one of this year’s favourites as well, having prevailed at the Epsom Derby earlier in the year. Pyledriver, though one of the older horses entered into this year’s King George VI and Queen Elizabeth QIPCO Stakes, proved her worth over a mile and half by winning the Coronation Cup.

Wonderful Tonight might not be one of the hot favourites for this weekend of action, but she was imperious in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot and is certainly one to keep an eye on.

After winning the Irish Derby and as a burly three-year-old, Hurricane Lane is also expected to be in contention for the No.1 spot on race day and does have weight advantages over Love.

Given the talent on offer, it’s no wonder this weekend of horse racing is so popular among fans. Many consider the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth QIPCO Stakes the middle-distance showpiece of the summer, especially in Europe.

With a prize of £1m, it is the second richest race in Britain behind the Derby. In 2011, the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth QIPCO Stakes became a part of the Breeders’ Cup, meaning the winner gets an automatic invitation to that year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf, another prestigious event in the calendar.

But wait, there’s more…

However, the weekend of events isn’t just for dedicated horse racing fans, but is also targeted at families and more casual followers of the sport.

The event is certainly more relaxed and less formal than other meets throughout the year with a tangible summer garden party feel. Friday is the perfect opportunity for visitors to sample the various champagne, cocktail and food stalls on offer, making the event a social highlight for many people. The weekend usually culminates in live music performances as well.

Beside the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth QIPCO Stakes, there are many other races held over the King George Diamond Weekend on both the Friday and Saturday. Ascot has numerous luxury enclosures for fans to take in the action from. 

The track is one of the most acclaimed in the world for a reason and the King George Diamond Weekend takes full advantage of the facilities and setting, providing an event to remember for those lucky enough to get tickets.

The King George VI and Queen Elizabeth QIPCO Stakes, which is undoubtedly the centrepiece of the entire weekend, was first established in 1951 when two different Ascot races were merged into one. When it came into being, it was the richest horse race ever run in Britain.

It was created as a race for horses three years or older, a rule that still stands, and the race is competed over a distance of 1 mile 3 furlongs and 211 yards. Since 1951, it has become one of the most lauded racing events in Europe.

This is in large part due to the outstanding horses, jockeys and trainers that frequently take part, producing some historic races. Chief among these is the 1975 race, which saw a titanic clash between Grundy and Bustino to be first past the post, an event that has since been dubbed the “race of the century.”

Other legendary names to have competed at the King George Diamond Weekend are Mill Reef, Dancing Brave, Nashwan and Galileo. 

The King George Diamond Weekend has established itself as one of the most popular events in British horse racing, having been built around one of Europe’s biggest races and supplementing it with a fun and relaxed atmosphere.

Love is the current frontrunner for this year’s King George VI and Queen Elizabeth QIPCO Stakes, but with the absence of Enable, there are several horses who could clinch the title, further adding to the intrigue.

“For a different and unique perspective on horse racing, I read Jonathan Stettin’s Past the Wire.” Mike Smith, Hall of Fame, Triple Crown winning jockey

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