King George VI Weekend, which takes its name from the feature race, the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes, run on the Saturday, is a two-day meeting staged at Ascot Racecourse, in the Royal County of Berkshire, in July. Outside Royal Ascot, King George VI Weekend is one of the most prestigious meetings of the year at the course founded by Queen Anne in 1711.
The opening day, on the Friday, offers a relaxed, but nonetheless competitive, afternoon of racing. Highlights include the Valiant Stakes, run over 7 furlongs and 213 yards and open to fillies and mares aged three years and upwards. Inaugurated in 1998, the race was promoted to Listed status in 2009. The Brown Jack Stakes, a handicap run over 2 miles and 45 yards, commemorates Brown Jack, who won the Ascot Stakes at Royal Ascot in 1928 and the Queen Alexandra Stakes, also run at the Royal Meeting, six years running between 1929 and 1934.
The King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes, on the Saturday, has long been considered the premium mid-season, middle-distance race for horses of both sexes and, unsurprisingly, since 2011 has formed the fifth leg of the British Champions Series Middle Distance Category. Run over 1 mile 3 furlongs and 22 yards and open to horses aged three years and upwards, the race was inaugurated, as the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Festival of Britain Stakes, in 1951 and currently offers prize money in excess of £1.2 million.
Notable winners of the “King George” over the years have included Nijinsky, Mill Reef, Brigadier Gerard, Shergar, Dancing Brave, Reference Point and Generous, all of whom were rated at least 138 by Timeform and can therefore be considered some of the greatest racehorses since World War II.