Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Prince of Wales's Stakes preview

Nursing a sore head and still bemoaning Medicean Man being beaten a nose in the King's Stand Stakes yesterday, it's time for me to post some more Royal Ascot action. Day One was fantastic, and the rest of the week ain't bad either.

Today's feature is the Prince of Wales's Stakes, a race which bizarrely wasn't run between 1940-1967 because there was no male heir to the throne (so?). With the preview, it's international race-calling prodigy Luke Humphreys, @WorldRacingLuke.

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Prince of Wales's Stakes
G1 1m2f
£525,000
1620 local, 0120 AEST


1 California Chrome (United States of America):
Very unfortunate that he doesn’t take his place due to a foot abscess. Horrible luck. Non-Runner.

2 Cannock Chase (8/1) (United Kingdom):
Has his fair share of ability and won the G3 Tercentenary Stakes at the meeting last year. However in his two runs this year he was third, to rival Western Hymn, in the G3 Gordon Richards Stakes and only second to Maverick Wave in the G3 Huxley Stakes. Now one would imagine that only placings in those races wouldn’t be good enough to be competitive in this, however Telescope (Also trained by Sir Michael Stoute and Ryan Moore) was a tad disappointing in those two races last year and then he went bang at this meeting last year, and also very strangely after Ryan Moore was confirmed the rider of The Grey Gatsby, he switched to this horse on Monday in a very interesting turn of events. So that’s certainly a plus for this horse. I like the horse, but I don’t think his form is good enough.

3 Criterion (12/1) (Australia):
Started his international forays with a fantastic third in the G1 Hong Kong Cup in December. He was then third and second, over unsuitable trips, in the G1 Canterbury Stakes and G1 George Ryder Stakes during the Sydney Autumn. He then got his day in the sun (albeit on a soft track) when an extremely dominant winner of the G1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes. Most thought he was a tad disappointing in the G1 QEII Cup in Hong Kong last time, and were critical of the ride from Craig Williams, but I thought he performed as well as he could and Craig was unlucky to lose the ride. Great to see an Australian-trained horse coming to Royal Ascot for a race like this. I think he’ll come up a tad short, but he won’t disgrace himself.

4 Ectot (11/2) (France):
He has all the ability in the world but he’s a bit of a headcase as well. Pulled extremely hard but still won the G2 Prix Niel in September, when letting down extremely strongly at the 2f but then only falling in. He then got too stirred up in the G1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, big crowd with lots of runners etc, and never ran on at all. He missed his return runs in the G1 Prix Ganay and G1 Prix d’Ispahan at Longchamp in May due to small setbacks. So he comes into this fresh which is a concern in two ways, 1) Will he be fit enough? 2) Will he be too fresh and pull his ring off, get stirred up etc. The small field will certainly help him settle a bit more but he can really pull and I wouldn’t expect a hot speed which could work against him. Has he positives but he also has he negatives. Each-way is the safe way but I would be happy to lay him, due to his quirks.

5 Free Eagle (3/1) (Ireland):
Fragile horse but he is another that has all the ability on the planet. Missed most of last year due to injury before blowing away his rivals in the G3 Enterprise Stakes at Leopardstown on Irish Champions Weekend and then ran a promising third in the G1 Champion Stakes on British Champions Day at this track in October. Now there’s certainly a fitness concern, as he missed his preparation race in the G1 Tattersall’s Gold Cup in May at The Curragh, but he has the necessary ability to be very competitive in this.

6 Gailo Chop (11/1) (France):
Nice horse that could be good odds. Easy winner of the G2 Prix Guillaume d’Ornano last year and his only run since was a blinder behind Solow, world’s best miler and yesterday’s Queen Anne winner, where he led the field and was only beaten 1.5 lengths in the G1 Prix d’Ispahan. That form looks pretty good, especially after yesterday, so he’s certainly one not to forget about. Part-owned by the Australian venture OTI Racing.

7 Spielberg (8/1) (Japan):
This horse is amazingly over the odds. Has his injury problems, was sidelined for 18 months between May 2012 and August 2013, but is very good. He was a brilliant winner of the G1 Tenno Sho (Autumn) coming from well back in November, in front of Gentildonna and Epiphaneia etc. He then in my humble opinion should have won the G1 Japan Cup when coming from a long way back to storm home and run third, best career run to date. And was fantastic in his seasonal reappearance in the G2 Sankei Osaka Hai, behind likes of G1 winners Lachesis and Kizuna, where he hated every second of the soft ground but tried valiantly for fourth place, coming from last. Christophe Soumillon has a great record on Japanese trained horses as well. Best value bet of the whole entire meeting. The one to be on.

8 The Corsican (25/1) (United Kingdom):
Strong winner of the LR Festival Stakes at Goodwood last time but will need a career best to get involved here and in all honesty he should be more like 100/1 than 25/1.

9 The Grey Gatsby (6/1) (United Kingdom):
Always loved the horse but he’s been a jury in/jury out horse this season. Fantastic winner of the G2 Dante Stakes, G1 Prix du Jockey Club and G1 Irish Champion Stakes last year. I thought he was a bit mystifying in the G1 Dubai Turf when 2nd, but after Solow yesterday it was a perfectly respectful run, but he was a confusing run last time when only fourth in the G1 Tattersall’s Gold Cup. And Ryan Moore has chosen Cannock Chase ahead of him too after confirming to ride this horse! I don’t think he liked being without cover in Ireland and he wouldn’t have liked the ground either. The fast ground and 2000m will suit and if they run a strong pace and he’s out the back smoking the pipe, he’ll be swamping them late. I personally don’t think Jamie Spencer is the best rider for him, due to his big action with the whip etc, and Richard Hughes would be a good rider for him, I also think a pacemaker for him would be a good idea, but I think if things go his way he’ll be in the finish.

10 Western Hymn (8/1) (United Kingdom):
Was defined as a soft ground horse last year but he can go on any ground. Has had two strong G3 victories at Sandown this year in the good form races such as the Gordon Richards Stakes and Brigadier Gerard Stakes. Not a true G1 horse in my eyes yet but the two races he’s won produce good horses so he can certainly run well.

VERDICT
A fantastic renewal the Prince of Wales’s with four local runners, two from France and one each from Ireland, Australia and Japan. Even with California Chrome unfortunately out it’s an awesome race and on a year-to-year basis this race is my favourite of the year at the meeting. (7) Spielberg looks extraordinary odds and he looks perfectly suited to everything and in the last couple of days has been 14/1 to 8/1 so make sure you get on this horse as he’s still amazing odds and is the value bet of the meeting. (6) Gailo Chop could prove hard to catch if he finds the top and his form looks good. (9) The Grey Gatsby is on his last chance but his best form is way too good to dismiss him. (5) Free Eagle has a fitness concern for mine, (3) Criterion might not be good enough and so too (10) Western Hymn. (4) Ectot I think might get too ahead of himself. (2) Cannock Chase is the pick of Ryan Moore, rode a treble yesterday, but in all honesty looks outclassed and (8) The Corsican looks completely outclassed.

Selections
(7) Spielberg - (6) Gailo Chop - (9) The Grey Gatsby - (5) Free Eagle - (3) Criterion- (10) Western Hymn - (4) Ectot - (2) Cannock Chase - (8) The Corsican

The Bet
Straight win bet on (7) Spielberg.

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