Since its inception in 1860, seven horses, including the great Diadem, (1919, 1920) have won The Kings Stand in consecutive years, but none have managed to bring up the hat trick, a situation that fantastic 8yo gelding Sole Power, is going to try to correct on Tuesday. Already the winner of an eye watering, near £2,000,000 he is as short as 4/1 to achieve his third successive victory in this historic sprint. He disappointed last time out, finishing 6th, 5l behind Mustajeeb at the Curragh (6f gd-soft May23rd) but is easily forgiven, as he has never won beyond 5f in any of his 48 races. Tuesday’s race is tailor made for this “hold up” horse and a reproduction of his win in the Group1 at Meydan in March this year, would certainly see him involved at the very least, at the business end on Tuesday. One for the short list!
Mind you, as the very open betting indicates, this is no one horse affair, and there are plenty need considering, not least William Haggas’s rapidly improving 5yo gelding, Muthmir. Having put up an astonishing performance to win the Portland Handicap at Doncaster last September with his head in his chest, considering he nearly came down exiting the stalls, he was put away for the season. He reappeared in a Group2 over 6f at York on May13th, where he acquitted himself well, finishing 5th, less than 1L behind the winner, Glass Office. He confirmed his progress when taking a Group2 over 5f (Gd-Sft) at Chantilly eighteen days later. Some were not totally convinced by his performance here, but to this observer he won cleverly, and as the runner up, Catcall, had been a slightly unlucky second in the 2013 Prix De L’Abbe, the form looks solid. Given better ground at Ascot,it will be hard to keep this rapidly improving sprinter out of the money.
The Australian 4yo, Brazen Beau, won a Group2 sprint over 6f last October, and progressed to Group1 level when winning at Flemington, again over 6f, twenty seven days later. Reverting to 5f four months later, again at Group1 level, he was beaten 2 1/2L. Last time out he won a Grade1 handicap readily, at 6f. Coming all the way from Australia, connections clearly fancy their chances, but I wonder if Tuesday’s test will prove just too sharp as he does seem to be better at six furlongs.
Unlike her Australian compatriot, the 6yo mare Shamal Wind, seems particularly well suited by Tuesday’s trip. She has won five times over the distance, and was quite impressive last time when winning a Grade1 handicap over an extended five at Caulfield. However this Dubawi mare has never won at Group level, and despite that last impressive win she might just come up short in this company.
Michael Dod’s 4yo Dark Angel filly, Meccas Angel continues to impress. Winner of seven of her twelve starts, she had her first run at Group level, last September, (Group3 Newbury soft) and made it a winning one, readily beating the useful Justice Day by 2 1/2L. Not seen again until May10th (Longchamp 5f Group3 Gd-Sft) she again disposed of a decent field in a very good time. Clearly a very progressive and consistent filly, who likes to get her toe in, so particularly if there is rain, although she acts perfectly well on good ground, she is going to pose a serious threat to all.
Charlie Appelby’s 4yo Invincible Spirit gelding Pretend, was very disappointing when trailing in second last at Windsor on June1st. However it was his first run for two months, and his very able trainer blamed the fast ground. He certainly looked a very talented and speedy performer when winning his two previous races over 5 and 6 furlongs at Lingfield. They were both highly competitive affairs, and as many animals who handle Lingfields A.W. Surface, adapt well to Ascots 5f course, he is by no means passed over.
Fourteen 3yo’s have won since 1974, so the two fillies Tiggy Wiggy, and Anthem Alexander are worth a second look. Tiggy Wiggy had the best of their last two meetings, both over 6f, but Anthem Alexander did come out on top at last years Royal meeting, over 5f. While the Hannon filly failed to stay in the 1000gns, Sole Powers stablemate has been kept to sprinting, and won on her reappearance at Naas on June 1st. Anthem Alexander certainly adds another dimension to Edward Lynam’s challenge, and it would be no great surprise to see this course and distance winner involved.
Selection: Meccas Angel.
E.W. : Muthmir.