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Windsor Castle Stakes preview

28 runners down the wide open Ascot straight with most of them having no more than two career starts.... oh yes, it's the Windsor Castle Stakes which has thrown up double-figure odds winners four times in the past seven years (14/1, 20/1, 33/1 and 100/1). Bring it on I say!

Delving deep into the form for this conundrum is TheYoungRacegoer, Calum Madell. Read his blog, follow him on Twitter @calummadell ....


Windsor Castle Stakes (Listed)

An absolute minefield of a race with 28 runners taking part and with a number of runners that are desperately tough to judge based on a minimal amount of runs.

Heading the market is the Richard Hannon trained Anticipated, looking to extend his unbeaten record to three with a win here. He hasn’t been seen since May 1st though when beating the smart Justice Day over C&D in nice style, his trainer stating he’d give him time as he hadn’t come into his coat.

It is worth noting too that around that time, jockey Richard Hughes admitted they had very little in 5f juveniles this season but he was arguably the best they had, meaning he has to be respected, especially with possible improvement to come. He would have to be the first winner of the race ever for the trainer with is remarkable considering his record here.

Hannon also runs three others, with Steventon Star ridden by Frankie Dettori being the shortest in the market. He did well at the start of the season but flopped last time in the National Stakes at Sandown, meaning he has a good bit to prove now. The one I like the most of his quartet is Sacha Park who is still a maiden but has simply bumped into two of the top juveniles so far this season in Saayerr and Stubbs, both who will go well in their respective races this week. Beau Nash was also unlucky to run in behind a couple of smart ones but got off the mark last time in a weak race. He may not be good enough to be challenging for this though, especially when he probably needs further very soon.

Also coming in with a poor record in the race are the Irish trainers who have failed to win it for 22 years though they sometimes don’t target this race. Aidan O’Brien runs two and they are led by Fountain Of Youth, the fifth foal of the outstanding Attraction (Queen Mary winner). The step down to 5f seemed to suit last time when getting off the mark by 10 lengths but that was a desperately average race and others convince more. Wilshire Boulevard meanwhile got off the mark just four days ago but now drops down in trip to the minimum, though others are more solid for me. Dylanbaru ran third for Tommy Stack last year and he’s looking to go two better this time with outsider Treadstone who could improve for better ground but has been put in his place so far, the latest albeit by Coventry favourite Stubbs.

The other fascinating raider sees the return of Wesley Ward, who took this race in 2009 with Strike The Tiger, the first leg of a famous double and his runners must always be respected. He runs Ogermeister whose pedigree is all dirt but he’s already seen to have taken to turf and won the only maiden race for two-year-olds in New York this season. The trainer has had a number of attempts since 2009, including two in this race and though one ran with a lot of credit, neither has placed and I’m going to look elsewhere again.

Now to the home team, that was going to be led by Fine ‘N Dandy but he’s a non-runner now, but up there at the head of the market is my first fancy SLEEPER KING. He first caught the eye in a York maiden that regularly works out well over 6f where he showed plenty of speed to suggest a drop back in trip would suit. He duly took it in his stride in a conditions race at Musselburgh where he beat Justice Day who has a number of other form ties with the field, including the favourite. He looked to be a good deal better than the margin of victory suggests and connections have a live chance of taking the race for a second year running.

Haikbidiac has mixed it with a number of these but has come up short and looks better suited by 6f while Ben Hall won a very average race last time at Haydock and needs to improve significantly. Andhesontherun bumped into a very good one last time in Queen Mary bound Rizeena but seems to want further already while it wouldn’t surprise me if Supplicant ran a big race after running really well again in a smart race at Beverley. The winner that day is a good horse of Richard Hannon’s but the runner-up caught the eye the most and it just so happens that MY CATCH takes his chance here. He must have been showing a lot at home to have been put in the deep end like that on debut and once again to run here on his second start, but he was ridden with a lot of confidence, greenness probably got the better of him on an unorthodox track. That means improvement here looks likely and he is big contender for connections of the 2011 winner Frederick Engels.

Of the rest, I thought Fiftyshadesofgrey was possibly worth a small e/w as he showed promise on debut and this race is no stranger to big priced winners, including a 100/1 shot with Flashmans Papers in 2008. Peterkin and Extortionist have bags of speed and with it place claims and Tableforten is a little big considering he has done nothing wrong in bumping into the potentially very good Eccleston, who should take all the beating in the Norfolk, first time out and then making no mistake in winning over 6f last time.

Advice – Sleeper King 1pt e/w @14/1 generally
My Catch 1pt e/w @20/1 Stan James


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