Run over ten furlongs, the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes is one of the leading races of the year for older horses. It’s winners include some of the greats such as Brigadier Gerard (1972), Mtoto (1987 & 1988), Bosra Sham (1997), Dubai Millennium (2000), Fantastic Light (2001) and Ouija Board (2006).
This year’s renewal looks as competitive as ever despite John Gosden-trained So Mi Dar (Dubawi) missing the meeting due to a muscle injury. However, Gosden could run Godolphin’s 2015 Iris Derby (Gr 1) winner Jack Hobbs (Halling), who has two options at this years meeting, which also includes Hardwicke Stakes (Gr 1), run over his preferred 12 furlongs on the Saturday. Winner of the Longines Dubai Sheema Classic (Gr 1) on World Cup night in March, Jack Hobbs will be dropping two furlongs but none the same will be hard to beat.
Another horse dropping back from his preferred 12 furlongs could be Coolmore’s five-time Group 1 winner Highland Reel (Montjeu). Winner of the Coronation Cup (Gr 1) 19 days earlier, Highland Reel will be a formidable opponent. The Niarchos Family’s beautifully bred Ulysses (Galileo) is another who will be a leading fancy. This four-year-old son of the Champion sire Galileo, who is out of the Oaks (Gr 1) winner Light Shift, is proving to be a progressive older horse which saw him win the Gordon Richards Stakes (Gr 3) back in April.
Godolphin will also have Hawkbill (Kitten’ Joy). Winner of the Eclipse Stakes (Gr 1) last year over the same trip and having not quite got home in the Coronation Cup (Gr 1) last time out over 12 furlongs, he could return to ten furlongs. Decorated Knight (Galileo) is another who has hit top-form in 2017 which has seen him win two Group 1’s. His trainer Roger Charlton will be hoping Decorated Knight can emulate his former inmate Al Kazeem who followed his Tattersalls Gold Cup (Gr 1) by winning the Prince Of Wales Stakes in 2013.
The Duke Of Cambridge Stakes (Gr 2), run over the straight mile for older fillies’, looks another race to savour. Yet again it is racing’s superpowers who hold the key. The Godolphin/John Gosden team look to have a very exciting filly in Laugh Aloud. The four-year-old daughter of Dubawi bounced back from a disappointing seasonal debut to win her next two starts which included an impressive five length win of the Princess Elizabeth Stakes (Gr 3) last time out.
Al Shaqab Racing’s dual Group 1 winning miler Qemah (Danehill Dancer) will be looking to add her Coronation Stakes (Gr 1) win 12 months ago to her Royal Ascot CV. The Jean-Claude Rouget-trained Qemah will have needed her first run of the season when runner-up in the Chartwell Fillies’ Stakes (Gr 3) last month, over a furlong too short for her. Coolmore will have the consistent Somehow (Fastnet Rock). The Aidan O’Brien four-year-old who is best over nine furlongs having won the Charm Spirit Dahlia Stakes (Gr 2) during this year’s Newmarket Guineas meeting was also runner-up in this year’s Tattersalls Gold Cup (Gr 1).
John Gosden could again be double handed, with Cheveley Park’s four-year-old Persuasive (Dark Angel). Only defeated once, when second in the Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes (Gr 1) last September, Persuasive was a Group 3 winner over a mile last year and will be looking to go one better at the highest level, although she will line up having not had a run for 284 days.
Wednesday also sees the first day two-year-old fillies’ take their chances in the Queen Mary Stakes (Gr 2). US trainer Wesley Ward has won the Queen Mary Stakes (Gr 2) three times since 2009 including last year with Lady Aurelia, who heads to this year’s Commonwealth Cup (Gr 1). This year Ward looks to be double handed with Happy Like A Fool (Distorted Humor) and Fairyland (Scat Daddy).
Both were impressive winners of their only starts at Keeneland and could take all the beating. Their dangers could come from Neola (Foxwedge) and Heartache (Kyllachy). The Mick Channon-trained Neola put a nice performance in to win her maiden on her second start by seven lengths. Having then finished runner-up to the now injured Michael Bell-trained Main Desire (High Chaparral) in the Langleys Solicitors British EBF Marygate Fillies’ Stakes (L) last month she looks to have good claims. The Clive Cox-trained Heartache put up a nice performance to win her five furlongs maiden at Bath recent by six lengths.
Another coming to Royal Ascot off the back off a maiden win will be Chica La Habana who won Hilary Needler Trophy Fillies’ Stakes on her debut in early June. By the first crop sire Havana Gold (Teofilo), who has made a smart start with his first runners this season, Chica La Habana is owned by The Cool Silk Partnership and trained by Robert Cowell who teamed up together to win the Norfolk Stakes (Gr 2) 12 months ago with Prince Of Lir.
The opening Jersey Stakes (Gr 3) for three-year-olds, is often a race used by those who failed to stay in a Guineas mile, and that seems to be the case for the first three in the betting. The Saeed bin Suroor-trained Dream Castle, a son of the ‘mighty’ Frankel, was runner-up to Barney Roy in the seven furlongs JLT Greenham Stakes (Gr 3) before finishing fifth in the Quipco 2,000 Guineas (Gr 1).
Another to drop down to seven furlongs will be the Andre Fabre-trained Le Brivido, a son of leading French sire Siyouni, who had won his first two starts over six furlongs before being a short-head runner-up to Brametot in the Abu Dhabi Poule d’Essai des Poulains (Gr 1). The John Gosden-trained Daban (Acclamation), who won the seven furlongs Lanwades Stud Nell Gwyn Stakes (Gr 3) before third in Qipco 1000 Guineas (Gr 1) is another who could run a fine race.
Clive Webb-Carter Bloodstock Services