Saturday 18th May – Newbury 2:25 – 1m 4f Al Rayyan Stakes (Registered As The Aston Park Stakes) (Group 3) (Class 1) (4yo+)

The Aston Park Stakes was ungraded to Group 3 status in 2016 previously being run as a Listed race. The race was run over 1 mile 5 furlongs until 2014 before the drop down in trip to 1 mile 4 furlongs. It is a race which appears to be targeted by Sir Michael Stoute (pictured top) who has won the race on six occasions since 1996, including wins in 2015 and 2018. He has the odds on favourite for this year’s renewal.

The betting has been a reliable guide to finding the winner with 11 of the last 12 renewals being won by horses in the first three in the betting. However, the favourite has only been successful three times in the same period, but to complicate matters further, the favourite has won three of the last four renewals.

The age profile of recent winners is also a reasonable guide with 18 of the last 30 renewals being won by four year olds, six won by five year olds and five won by older horses.

A recent run is important as nine of the last 12 winners has their previous run within 65 days of the race. Winning form coming into the race is not significant and over the same period only two of the winners had won on their previous start.

A previous run at Newbury is useful with nine of the last 12 winners have run at least once before on the Berkshire track, although only one winner had previous winning form at the course during the same period.

A good level of experience of similar race distances is an important consideration with nine winners of the last 12 renewals running at least five times over distances between 1 mile 4 furlongs and 2 miles. In the same period 11 of the winners has also previously won at least once over the same distances.

An Official Rating of 105 or higher has been required to win the race in 11 of the last 12 renewals, but only five of the last 12 winners had previously won a Group race.

Crystal Ocean who won this last year’s renewal is the odds on favourite and is trained by Sir Michael Stoute. He looks a very worthy favourite but given his tight odds it may be worth taking a chance on a runner at a bigger price.

Raymond Tusk comes into the race in decent form finishing second in the Group 3 Sagaro Stakes over 2 miles at Ascot last time out 17 days ago. The four year old bay colt has run at Newbury twice before, including one win and has run over distances between 1 mile 4 furlongs and 2 miles five times also winning once.

He runs off an Official Rating of 111 and is ridden by Jamie Spencer who has ridden him on his last three starts including his win in the Group 2 Gran Premio del Jockey Club Italiano over 1 miles 4 furlongs last October. With the underfoot conditions to his liking he could give the favourite a run for his money.

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