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Ascot - Horse Racing: Keith Melrose's King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes tips

Ascot's Saturday card includes the British midsummer highlight of the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes and the Racing Post's Keith Melrose picks out his best bets.

2.25 Ascot
Novemba @ 9/2
1pt win

3.00 Ascot
Aratus @ 11/1
1pt each-way

3.35 Ascot
Torquator Tasso @ 9/1
1pt win

5.20 Ascot
Bond Chairman
1pt win

Novemba can reign for Germany

Zanbaq is favourite for the Group 3 Valiant Stakes on the strength of an excellent second in handicap company at Royal Ascot, however, that was on the straight course and she now faces a horse with genuine Group 1 form over Ascot's round mile.

Novemba was fourth in last year's Coronation Stakes and her front-running style is better suited to the round course than the straight course she ran on at this year's Royal meeting.

She was fourth to Saffron Beach in the Duke Of Cambridge, but was still second inside the final furlong, so it was arguably a better run than the result implies.

She also has form with Group 1 colts and her need for soft ground is potentially overstated - she has won on good in her native Germany and took the German 1000 Guineas on good to soft.

Hunt Cup form to get another boost

Ascot's straight-course handicaps are often about being on the right side of the field.

In the Royal Hunt Cup, winner Dark Shift was, as were six more of the first ten home. The three who ran well on the 'wrong' side were Bless Him, Sinjaari and Aratus.

Bless Him and Sinjaari have both won major handicaps since. Aratus, who was ahead of both of them a furlong out, is having his first run since.

He will be suited by coming back in distance and the chances are his draw in 16 will be more suitable this time than 24 was in the Hunt Cup. He is the one to side with each-way in another hot handicap.

Arc hero to do the Danedream double

Ten years ago a German-trained horse who had come from nowhere to win the Arc the previous autumn turned up to Ascot relatively ignored and won the King George.

That was Danedream and now Torquator Tasso, who sprang a massive surprise at Longchamp in October, can repeat history.

His win in Hamburg last time, when he looked a different species to the domestic competition, went a long way to confirming that his Arc win was no fluke and that he can repeat the dose near to hand.

It is supposed that soft ground will suit him best, which may be true, but he has plenty of relatives who handled good or good to firm ground.

Seeing the ground as a deal-breaker would be a big call, considering this is an Arc winner against three-year-olds who are unproven in open company. Furthermore, you can back him at double-figure odds. Do not pass up the opportunity.

Bond out for revenge

The first two from a heritage handicap on the last Ascot Saturday meeting, Mountain Peak and Bond Chairman, renew rivalry in a weaker race that rounds off the card and it is fancied that the tables can be turned.

Bond Chairman was unlucky last time. The main action was among the high-drawn runners (which included Mountain Peak, in 15 of 20), but he rattled home having started in stall eight to run the winner to a nose.

He gets a 1lb pull in the weights for shaping best and is justifiably at the head of the betting, with the rest of the opposition respectable but not exactly red-hot.

By Keith Melrose

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