The Sagaro Stakes at Ascot – 2nd May, 3:10, 2m (1m 7f 209y) Longines Sagaro Stakes (Group 3) (Class 1) (4yo+)
The Sagaro Stakes at Ascot was previously known at the Paradise Stakes and was run at Hurst Park racecourse which closed in 1962. The race was renamed the Sagaro Stakes in 1978 after the great horse of that name who won the Ascot Gold Cup three times in succession between 1975 and 1977, ridden by Lester Piggott on all three occasions. In 1983 the race was given Group status but with that year’s renewal being abandoned because of a waterlogged track it was first run in its current guise in 1984.
Four horses have won the Sagaro Stakes before going on to win the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot is the same season. Gildoran won both events in 1984, Double Trigger did the double in 1995 also winning the Sagaro Stakes in 1996, Colour Vision won both events in 2012 and the following year Estimate followed up under Ryan Moore. Six horses have won the race on two occasions and of currently active jockeys Frankie Detorri has won the race four times between 1992 and 2014.
Looking at the statistics, horses between the age of four and six have done best recently winning nine of the last 12 renewals. A recent run is not required as nine of the last 12 winners had not run for at least 185 days.
Having run at Ascot previously is a benefit, with 10 of the last 12 winners having run at the course at least once, and four of them having winning form at the course. Form over longer distances is obviously important with 10 of the last 12 winners winning at least once over the race distance.
Previous Group winning form is an advantage going into the race as eight of the last 12 winners have Group winning form. Therefore a reasonable Official Rating also comes to the fore as nine of the last 12 winners had ratings of 106 or higher.
Our pick for the race is Desert Skyline. The four year old chestnut gelding is trained by David Elsworth and ridden by Silvestre De Sousa. Desert Skyline won the Group 2 Doncaster Cup over 2 miles 2 furlongs two starts back in Good to Soft ground, which he is likely to encounter at Ascot. De Sousa rode him that day also.
He did well on his seasonal debut last season, finishing second by a neck in the Listed Fairway Stakes at Newmarket last May. He ticks the majority of the stats boxes although he has not run at Ascot before.
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