Kings Stand Stakes (Group1) 5f Royal Ascot

Betting Preview : Kings Stand Stakes (Group1) 5f Royal Ascot Tuesday – Having won the contest with Prohibit in 2011 and Goldream two years ago, that master trainer of sprinters, Robert Cowell certainly knows what is required, and is quite hopeful that his talented 8yo might regain his crown. The son of Oasis Dream was an excellent third to last year’s Prix de L’Abbaye heroine, Marsha, on his reappearance in the Palace House Stakes at Headquarters in May, and was probably a little unlucky to be beaten by Priceless in the Temple Stakes at Haydock. He lost ground with an uncharacteristic slow exit from the gate, and was only beaten 1/2L. The 8yo seems to be as good as ever and given his preferred fast ground could prove Mr Cowell’s optimism well founded.

Current market leader is the flying 3yo American filly, Lady Aurelia, who was so impressive when winning last years 5f Queen Mary Stakes at the meeting. She flew from the gate, and coasted home by 7L, in the hands of Frankie Dettori. She went on to take a Deauville 6f Group1 at odds of 2/7, but then suffered her only defeat when breaking a blood vessel at Newmarket. She was impressive when winning a listed race at Keenland on her reappearance proving that she has trained on, so with that scintillating Queen Mary performance in mind, is fully entitled to her position at the top of the market. However 3yo’s haven’t a great record in the Kings Stand and we have to go back 36 years to find the last successful filly of the classic generation, (The Michael Stoute trained Marwell in 1981).

The 2015 winner of the Queen Mary, the ex American filly, Acapulco, is now in the hands of Tipperary maestro, Aidan O ‘Brien, and she made her debut for the stable a winning one when landing a 5f Curragh listed race five weeks ago. She would need to step up considerably on this performance to figure on Tuesday but the key to her seems to be good fast ground, so given her conditions and coming from this yard, expect a big run.

The only animal to retain his title the following year has been the legendary Sole Power, but last year’s winner, (and Oddsguru’s selection), Profitable, is not without a chance of emulating him.

profitable kings stand

Profitable landed the spoils last year for the Oddsguru.

A winner of the 2016 renewals of The Palace House Stakes, The Temple Stakes, and The Kings Stand Stakes, all on easy ground, he made a satisfactory reappearance when finishing second to Signs Of Blessing (gave 11lbs) in a Deauville Group3 seven weeks ago. Trainer Clive Cox blamed the poor draw and very tacky ground for the defeat and is confident of a top performance on Tuesday.

Cox is also represented by the 4yo filly Priceless, and this winner of four of her twelve starts looked an improving type when coasting home by 5L on her seasonal debut, in a Bath listed race. Well fancied for the Palace House Stakes next time out, she ran far too freely, and finished fifth. She made amends twenty four days ago when taking the Temple stakes, and given good or faster ground on Tuesday is worth considering.

The Sir Mark Prescott trained 4yo filly Marsha, was something of a surprise package when winning last year’s Group1 Prix de L’Abbaye, but showed that it was no fluke, when, despite carrying her Group1 penalty, she won The Palace House Stakes 45 days ago. She had eleven of Tuesday’s field behind her that day all of whom will be meeting her on worse terms, again emphasising what an improving animal she is, and she looks the one to beat.

The Willie Haggas trained Muthmir has only raced at Ascot on the one occasion and that was in the 2015 renewal of The Kings Stand where he put up an excellent performance to finish third to Goldream. The son of Invincible Spirit got this season off to a flying start with a convincing win over Mr Lupton and Tuesday’s opponent Willytheconqueror at Bath, but then disappointed behind Marsha in the Palace House Stakes at Newmarket. However, he has never performed well at headquarters, and we saw a different horse last time. He won his third Group2, from another of Tuesday’s opponents, Finsbury Square, by a length, with Willytheconqueror 6 3/4L back in seventh, at Chantilly sixteen days ago. This run strongly suggests that he is back to his best and as he is likely to get the fast run race that suits so well, is another to consider, particularly as he is available at odds of 20/1 at the time of writing.

Selection : Marsha
E.W. : Muthmir

John Gray

Darley July Cup Betting Tips

Darley July Cup Betting Tips

Darley July Cup Group1 6f Newmarket Saturday – Nine 3yo’s have lifted the July Cup since 1990 and two of this year’s classic generation have the potential to make it ten. Of serious interest are the Aidan O’Brien trained Air Force Blue, and Karl Burke’s flying filly, Quiet Reflection. The former, winner of three Group1 races at two (one at 6f), ended the season as the top rated 2yo, but so far this season has been disappointing. He was sent off the 4/5 favourite for the 2000gns but trailed in second last, 15L behind the winner, and did even worse in the Irish equivalent finishing nearly 20L out the back. However plenty of winners of the July Cup in the 1970s and 1980s, having failed to stay the mile, found their true metier in the sprinting game, and indeed two of Aidan’s previous three winners, Stravinsky 1999 and Mozart 2001, fit this profile. By War Front, Air Force Blue needs good ground, so with the forecast for a dry weekend, he is well worth considering.

Karl Burke’s daughter of Showcasing, Quiet Reflection, changed hands as a 2yo for £44,000, and having banked over £400,000  from her six victories, including two Group3s, a Group2, and last time, that scintillating win in the Group1 Commonwealth Cup at the Royal Meeting, she has proved a rare bargain. Always travelling comfortably within herself, she quickened impressively inside the final furlong to win in the style of a really high class filly. Two slight reservations about her prospects on Saturday would be, that she seems to need a little ease in the ground and secondly, that no 3yo filly has won since Habibti in 1983. However Burke’s filly looks a really exceptional animal and given any cut in the ground has to be on the short list.

Clive Cox has supplemented his Kings Stand winner, Profitable, (tipped by Oddsguru) at a cost of £40,000 for Saturday’s contest, and if getting the extra furlong, the son of Invincible Spirit would be a danger to all. He certainly wasn’t stopping at Ascot, and considering his shrewd trainers decision to spend connections cash so lavishly, they must be pretty confident that the tough Profitable will last home. However the stats are against him as no winner of the Kings Stand has doubled up in the last twenty years and winning form at the trip has been a must.(The Cox horse was unplaced in his only attempt at 6f).

Since 1970, thirteen winners have come from the 6f Diamond Jubilee Stakes and the winner, fourth and fifth of this year’s renewal are of definite interest. The winner, Henry Candy’s 4yo colt Twilight Son won on merit, turning around  4 1/2L deficit on previous York running with Magical Memory, but he did have conditions to suit. Soft ground is ideal and with the barometer rising may find the going too fast. However this winner of six of his eight races, two at the top level, is clearly improving at a rate of knots, and does have a victory on Gd/Fm over 6f at Headquarters, (Rowley) on his c.v.

Fourth in the Diamond Jubilee, Magical Memory was less than 1/2L behind Twilight son on the unsuitably sticky surface, and as he also wasn’t the recipient of one of Frankie Dettori’s better rides, hopes are high, that given good ground, placings can be reversed. He showed he can handle the undulations of the course when taking the valuable 3yo handicap on the card last year, so a repeat of his excellent York performance when beating Suedois and Danzeno should see him go close.

Another who will appreciate faster conditions is Henry Candy’s second string, Limato.

This 4yo gelding returns to 6f for the first time since finishing second in last year’s Group1 Commonwealth Cup and is actually rated 2lbs higher than Twilight Son. There has been plenty of interest in the him in the market so given fast ground must be worth considering.

Cotai Glory took everyone by surprise when running such a fine race in the Kings Stand on what was considered unsuitably soft ground. A 33/1 shot, he closed over 1f out and ran on strongly to get within a neck of Profitable. He has only raced over 6f twice, finishing second to Limato in a listed race at Newbury as a 2yo. Hailing from the same yard as Magical Memory, trainer Hills is quite bullish about his prospects, noting how well he was staying on all the way up the hill at Ascot. Given fast ground at the weekend, another to consider!

Selection:  Magical Memory

E.W. : Cotai Glory

Diamond Jubilee Stakes Betting Tips

The Diamond Jubilee Stakes 6f Group 1 Royal Ascot Saturday – What a good ride Adam Kirby gave Oddsguru’s selection, Profitable, in Tuesday’s King’s Stand Stakes. Always travelling supremely well within himself, the 4/1 winner was the last to come off the bridle. However Adam had to get down to some serious riding inside the final furlong as the son of Invincible Spirit had to battle hard in the testing conditions. A tearful Kirby was hugely complimentary about the horse afterwards and he could well end the season as champion sprinter. The performance of the 33/1 runner up, Cotai Glory, must have come as a pleasant surprise to trainer Charlie Hills who always thought the horse needed fast conditions, and will surely have boosted his confidence that another of his top sprinters, Magical Memory will get his head in front where it matters in Saturday’s Diamond Jubilee Stakes.

The 4yo gelding by Zebedee has won won six of his fifteen starts and has shown a most progressive profile. He won his first handicap (May 2015) off a mark of 87 and three months later saw him winning a very competitive Goodwood affair off 102. Thrown in at the deep end the following month, he ran a great race in a Group 1 at Haydock. Starting at 14/1 he belied those odds when finishing third, beaten a short head and three quarters of a length by Twilight Son and stablemate, Strath Burn. Put away for the season he made a winning reappearance in a Group 3 at Headquarters with Dettori in the plate (Gd/Sft) in April, and followed up in a Group 2 at York twenty five days later. He had his Haydock conquerer, Twilight Son, 4 1/2L back in fifth and if we can believe the form, the Hills horse has taken a major step forward over the Winter. Magical Memory can handle most conditions and with Frankie again taking the ride he looks a worthy favourite.

James Fanshawe runs his 4yo gelding, The Tin Man, and is another who has made serious progress from the ranks of handicap sprinters. Rated only 79 last July, he hosed up in a course and distance handicap off a mark of 91 in October and connections were so impressed they supplemented him for the Group1 Champions Sprint fifteen days later. They retrieved their late entry fee when he finished fourth, 3 3/4L behind the impressive winner Mukaarar. Twilight Son was 1 3/4L in front of him in second and The Tin Man does seem to have it all to do to reverse the form. However it’s worth noting that this very lightly raced animal is a half brother, (by Compton Place) to his trainers Wokingham, and Group1 Champions sprint winner (2011) Deacon Blues, and we are very unlikely to have seen the best of him yet. There was certainly plenty to like about his reappearance win at Windsor twenty four days ago when he had Strath Burn three lengths back in fourth.

Last year’s winner, the US trained 6yo gelding, Undrafted, has had a very quiet twelve months since his victory, and has clearly been trained with a repeat on the Royal stage in mind. On only his third outing since Ascot he showed his wellbeing when taking a Grade2 at Keenland (April 9th) but the concern for him must surely be the ground as all his turf victories have been gained when the word firm has been in the going description. Unless there is a dramatic improvement in conditions at the Berkshire venue he is hard to fancy.

Already a Group 1 winner, and in view of his fine second over course and distance in last years Champions Sprint, Henry Candy’s 4yo son of Kyllachy, Twilight Son has to enter calculations. His reappearance run behind Magical Memory in that Group2 at York was perfectly respectable, but the fact remains that he has 4 1/2L to find on the winner, so perhaps the Candy yard has a better chance with their other 4yo, Limato. Always held in very high regard, he was sent off the 3/1 favourite for the 1m Group1 Lockinge Stakes in May but didn’t seem to get home. He did win a slowly run Group2 7f race at Doncaster but it’s worth remembering that five of his six victories have been achieved over 6f, (including a course and distance win), so the drop back in trip may well suit. If the ground improves to good by the weekend he would be worth considering.

The prize money in Hong Kong must be phenomenal because the 7yo ex Irish gelding Gold-Fun has managed to accumulate the eye watering sum of £3,721,460 in prize money, despite never winning at the top level. However he has put in plenty of good performances in Group1s, including last time, (May 6) when finishing fourth. Trained in Ireland until 2012 where he won a maiden over the stiff mile at Naas, he may be well suited by Ascot’s testing uphill straight 6f and a reproduction of his close second, (beaten 1/2l) in a Sha-Tin Group 1 last December would make him interesting.

Selection:    Magical Memory

E.W.    :   Gold-Fun