Tag Archives: Prince Of Wales’s Stakes

Royal Ascot Wednesday

Ascot Grand Stand, by Florian Christoph

Royal Ascot is upon us…. and I missed day one. Just returned from a three week long trip around Australia, work was calling on Monday right away and left no room for any form study, neither yesterday. Without a proper study I don’t throw bucks on the nags and rather enjoy the replays of the big races.

None bigger than the curtain raiser on the opening Tuesday which is the prestigious Queen Anne Stakes – somehow in my mind  the World Cup final for milers!

Maybe because I call myself Paco Boy’s Nr. 1 fan. His triumph in 2009 was such a special, memorable, eye-catching and simply beautiful performance – it left a lasting mark on me.

So of course I was keen to see who’d get up in this years renewal. Ribchester the big favourite after landing the Lockinge in superb style. Not quite as impressive this time, but in the end with authority, the Godolphin inmate ran all his rivals down.

Only one of many brilliant performances on the day. Lady Aurelia bolting up in the King’s Stand and Barney Roy got his first Group 1 win under the belt, while Churchill found this possibly one too many a race.

……

2.30 Ascot: Jersey Stakes, Group 3, 7 furlongs

A hot race that will inevitably end up in a split of the field I believe – pace drawn close to both sides of the rails should ensure a fair enough contest…. hopefully.

It’s hard to make a call what site to favour and what eventually happens in this race, but on pure form you have to very keen on French raider Le Brivido, runner-up in the French Guineas. Drawn in ten he will have every opportunity to make a choice but might early on and no doubt with only two starts to his name he looks bound to improve.

However I fancy second favourite Dream Castle a lot. Drawn in 19 could be a problem, but doesn’t have to be. Fact is this son of Frankel is riddled with talent as he showed on debut when winning impressively, followed up by an incredibly eye-catching performance in the Greenham.

He was argubly unlucky in the 2000 Guineas subsequently and clearly is better than the bare results suggests. He pulled in the first half of the race, was then hampered and a clear run denied at a crucial stage, yet finished strongly.

He has had only three career starts, so there is every chance for more to come as the fast ground and the drop to 7f won’t be a problem, in fact a fast race over this sort of trip should be ideal.

Selection:
10pts win – Dream Castle @ 4/1 Bet365

……

4.20 Ascot: Prince Of Wales’s Stakes, Group 1, 1m 2f

Despite the trip possibly short of his optimum, Highland Reel from the front over 10f on fast ground at Ascot could be difficult to peg back, I feel. He a high-class individual and bounced back to his best in the Coronation Cup at Epsom.

I feel his biggest challange won’t come from Jack Hobbs, who got the better of him in Dubai because the drop in trip in combination of quick ground is a much clearer disadvantage for the 2015 derby runner-up in my mind at least.

Most likely to enjoy these conditions is Sir Michael’s classy Galileo colt Ulysses, though. His seasonal reappearance at Sandown was pleasing and the form franked by runner-up Deauville.

He’s yet to score at the highest level however had his fare share of problems which means after eight career starts he might still be able to find a bit of improvement. I’m slightly concerned about him being too far off the pace in this race, on the other hand – but that’s the risk to take.

Selection: 
10pts win – Ulysses @ 4/1 Bet365

Preview: Royal Ascot – Prince Of Wales’s Stakes

The Grey Gatsby

Probably the most intriguing contest at this years Royal Ascot, the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes enjoys the presence of some of the best middle-distance horses from all around the world. A truly fascinating contest to see all these international stars going head to head.

The Favourite

The waiting is over; the eagerly anticipated return of Dermot Weld’s Free Eagle has arrived. Thought to be a potential Derby winner as a juvenile, he had his fair share of problems as a three year old but came back from a year long break on Irish Champions Weekend to win a Group 3 in scintillating style. He ended the season with a fair 3rd place in the British Champion Stakes, when the soft ground was probably against him.

Ascot’s 10 furlong track and fast ground should suit this exciting individual down to the grounds. I can’t wait to see him back on the track. Big things are expected and Mr. Weld has proved in the past to be well able to produce Free Eagle first time out. He is the horse they all have to beat here.

The Domestic Challenge

Last seasons brilliant Irish Champions Stakes winner The Grey Gatsby has been slightly disappointing in two starts this season. While one could say he came up against a superstar at Meydan over a trip slightly too sharp, there weren’t too many excuses for him at the Curragh the next time.

He’ll appreciate the quick ground here but has to produce his brilliant best if he wants to play a prominent role in the outcome of this race. That says it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him bouncing back to his brilliant best with conditions very much to suit.

Already a Royal Ascot winner, Cannock Chase must be respected. He’ll love the ground and the track. You could make some excused for him in his two stars this year, although he doesn’t seem to have physically improved over the winter and my perception is he’ll find it tough against top class older horses.

Western Hymn has been a revelation this year. He proved to cope with quick ground at Sandown when winning the Brigadier Gerard Stakes last month. He’ll need to take another step forward to feature prominently in this race, though. The same goes for The Corsican. An improving sort, but much more is required here.

The Foreign Raiders

The French Ectot was a 6/1 fancy for last years Arc. For all the right reasons. A Group 1 winner over 1m as a juvenile, he stepped up to 1m 4f winning the Prix Niel as a prep for the big one. He was disappointing in the Arc itself and hasn’t been seen since then. That’s a major worry of course, but if he’s fit, healthy and improved, he’s a major player.

The other French horse Gailo Chop has been beaten by Solow on his seasonal reappearance last month. He’s a good middle-distance horse, but has, however, doubts about his ability on this top level as well as on fast ground.

Potentially the most interesting raider from overseas is Australia’s Criterion. His record in Group races is staggering. He won big races from 6 furlongs up to 1m 4f and has been competitive against internationals before. After smashing his opposition in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes over 10 furlongs at Randwick, connections came up with the idea to ship him out for some of the big races in overseas.

First step was Hong Kong. Criterion was far from disgraced in the QEII at Sha Tin, finishing a fine third. He’s now over in England, reportedly has settled well in to his new surroundings and a big run is expected. He’d probably prefer a bit of rain, however his Hong Kong performance proved he can be competitive on quick ground as well.

The Japanese send out Spielberg. He’s a Group 1 winner at home, beat super mare Gentildonna back in November and acts on fast ground. He’s a serious horse & also stays further, though usually seem to take a while to hit top gear and that might find him out around Ascot.

Verdict: Assuming Dermot Weld has worked his magic again, one would think it takes a special horse to beat exciting Free Eagle. If you want to say something negative about him, then it is the form of his Leopardstown win, which isn’t great. Whether he has improved from three to four is another question mark. Nonetheless I am seriously tempted to take the 3/1 on offer as I thought he’d be a bit shorter. But….

…. I find it impossible not to have a bet on Criterion @ 11/1, which is way too big in my book. Fast ground isn’t ideal, but he handles it fine. He has a high cruising speed and is likely to be in the perfect position turning for home, chasing the pace. He’s able to sustain a high tempo for a lengthy period of time and Ascot as a track may suit absolutely perfectly. He’s the value for me.

Criterion @ 11/1 VCbet – 5pts Win