Wednesday 20th June, 4:20 – Royal Ascot – 1m 2f (1m 1f 212y) Prince Of Wales’s Stakes (Group 1) (British Champions Series) (Class 1) (4yo+)
The Prince of Wales Stakes was established in 1862 and named after the Prince of Wales at the time, the future King Edward VII and was originally contested over 1 mile 5 furlongs. The race is open to horses aged four years old or older. The race was discontinued after World War II as there was no Price of Wales, and was reinstated in 1968, a year before the investiture of Prince Charles as Prince of Wales.
In its new format the race distance was changed to its current format of 1 mile 2 furlongs and the age requirement was lowered to allow three year olds to compete. In 1971 when the current grading system was introduced the race was classified as a Group 2 event and was elevated to Group 1 status in 2000 when the minimum age was raised to four again.
The betting is a very good guide to the winner of The Prince of Wales Stakes as over the last 12 renewals the winner has come from the first three in the betting with five favourites obliging over the same period. In fact only once in the last 31 renewals of the race has the winner come from outside the first four in the betting.
The last 25 renewals of the race have seen four year olds and five years old win on 21 occasions with six year old horses only being successful twice over the period.
Previous form over the race distance of 1 mile 2 furlongs should be noted as 10 of the last 12 winners had winning form over the distance and 10 of the last 12 winners had won at least four times over differing distances. It is also worth noting horses who ran in the race 12 months ago as six of the last 14 winners ran in the race the previous season.
Current form is a good guide as 14 of the last 21 winners won on their previous start and 11 of the last 12 winners had run at least once earlier in the season. Winners of the current seasons Tattersalls Gold Cup which is run at The Curragh should be noted as the last eight winners running in The Prince of Wales Stakes have won four times. Winners of the Prix Ganay are also worthy of note as of the last five winners who have contested the race two have won.
French trained horses should also be noted as they have won the race three times in the last 11 years.
An Official Rating of 119 or higher has been required to win the race on eight of the last 12 occasions and previous Group 1 winning form should be noted as nine of the last 12 winners had won previously at the highest level.
It is difficult to look past the odds on favourite when looking for the winner of this years’ renewal. Cracksman won the Prix Ganay on his seasonal reappearance by 4 lengths. He has won on his last five starts which includes two Group 2’s and three Group 1’s.
His last run in the Coronation Cup at Epsom’s Derby meeting initially appeared to be a very under par performance when he only got up to beat the 25/1 outsider Salouen in the shadow of the post by a head. However, it emerged after the race that he had banged his head in the starting stalls before the race. His trainer John Gosden told the Racing Post: “The horse next door got upset and Frankie said Cracksman lunged forward just before the stalls opened and gave his head an almighty whack, which is why he missed the break. We had planned to sit second behind the leader, as he did in France, but that went out of the window and he must have run the race in a complete daze.”
With an Official Rating of 130, Cracksman is undoubtedly the best of Frankel’s offspring to date. His only defeats came in The Derby and the Irish Derby – he was placed in both, and although he has won over 1 mile 4 furlongs, including the Coronation Cup on his last start, the Prince of Wales Stakes’ race distance of 1 mile 2 furlongs appears to be his optimum trip. In three runs over the distance he is unbeaten and his last two wins, both at Group 1 level have seen him win by 7 lengths and 4 lengths respectively. He has winning form over course and distance and the good to firm going will not inconvenience him. He has his regular jockey Frankie Dettori in the plate and Cracksman has won six times from seven attempts with Dettori riding.
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