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Duke of Cambridge Stakes preview

The Prince of Wales might have the star billing for Wednesday but the fillies' and mares' Group 2 is a quality contest. Not the easiest one to assess though, so in comes regular contributor Jon da Silva, @creamontop to dissect the formlines.

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Duke of Cambridge Stakes

Don't know about you but the decision to rename the Windsor Forest after her vapid grandson must be one of Her Majesty's worst. Despite not having sponsored races and hence decent race titles like "The Kentucky Derby presented by Yum Brands" Ascot does attract some of the best horses from around the world. Of course this race has not as it's worth 77 grand in a currency that's dipped 40% against the Yuan in five years and is a Group 2. No mares have penalties for winning Group 1s or 2s since late last year by the way.

Beatrice Aurora 25/1
Fifth in this last year and consistently Group 3 level. Has Frankie and finished last on reappearance at the tricky Epsom. Horse who has dropped 6lbs from her best official mark.

Chigun 10/3
The improver who has won four of her last six. Beat the useful La Collina in a Group 3 at the Curragh and represents Lady Cecil so handkerchiefs ready. Form via La Collina & Lily's Angel suggests she is in the ballpark with Duntle, the likely favourite. Form makes her seem marginally the best of the pretenders stepping up to Group 1 (Dank, Thistle Bird).

Dancewiththedevil 16/1
South African Group One winner over eight and 10 furlongs. Right there on ratings and soft ground might make her worth a poke. Beaten quite a few times and get the impression a stiff/soft 8f is a minimum at this level.

Dank 11/2
Narrowly beat Chigun on seasonal opener receiving three pounds but a bit behind on last year's form. Half sister to Eagle Mountain (by Rock of Gibraltar -> Dank by Dansili) who was effective 8 to 12 furlongs so might be interesting if she steps up from here.

Duntle 11/4
First past the post in the Group 1 Matron and sets the standard for others to hit. Quite a few close on collateral form but does have the G1 form without a penalty - arguably! Clearly the marker for the improvers and may still improve herself. Despite the Group 1 has only had seven runs so we cannot be too sure improvement or limits found yet.

Intense Pink 25/1
Has been running over sprints in lower class races. Listed winner who was competitive in a Group 3 on seasonal debut. Raced mostly on soft ground but has disappointed on better.

Lady's First 25/1
narrowly but decisively beaten by Dank, Chigun and Thistle Bird since last win over Dank. Also behind Duntle last year at Royal Ascot in the Sandringham. Not far behind but seemingly exposed.

Sarkiyla 9/1
Second to a horse in a Group 2 in France in May - beaten by the rather exposed Don Bosco. Can make a case she's come for the stiffer track and better ground. Six lengths behind Moonlight Cloud and Farhh in the Moulin. Her form is a procession of ran on, stayed on, nearest finish, rallied etc. Could be a Hound could be wanting a stiff mile and female competition.

Sweetnessandlight 66/1
Seemingly exposed as below group level. Did get within two lengths of the improving Dank once.

Thistle Bird 7/1
Not far behind Chigun last year. Beaten 3L on seasonal bow behind Dank and Chigun before winning a Group 3. Would not surprise if she was scraping paint with several.

Top Official marks have Chigun 114 Duntle 113 Dancewiththedevil 112 Dank 109 Sarkiyla/Thistle Bird 108

I don't see a lot between a lot of those since not all exposed despite this being a four year old plus race & think the market has the best two as first two in the betting at circa evens when dutched. Rain would make the former South African runner Dancewiththedevil a sporting each way bet and she may like the stiff track anyway. Could make an argument for Thistle Bird relative to Chigun on last year's form. Duntle solid and passed post first last four starts including a female Group 1. Dank is one I will be following whatever happens. But....

I would argue French raider Sarkiyla is value. Best form in France on top of the ground and often doing best work late so hopefully the straight mile will help. Sarkiyla will be my bet at around 9/1.

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