The stats went out the window in the Epsom Derby, as did the formbook, with Wings Of Eagles springing a massive surprise for Aidan O’Brien and Padraig Beggy. It looked as though Ryan Moore had produced Cliffs Of Moher at precisely the right moment, but Beggy mowed them all down in the final furlong and gave former Derby hero Pour Moi a landmark win as a sire.
The focus switches to Ascot next week, and if Cheltenham is the Olympics for jumps racing then Royal Ascot has to be the equivalent on the flat. The highlight on Day 1 is the King’s Stand Stakes, and this Group 1 sprint looks a fiercely competitive contest this year. Below we will use the stats that matter to try and narrow the field and hopefully we can weed out the winner.
Last 5 Winners
|2016||Profitable||Clive Cox||Adam Kirby||4/1|
|2015||Goldream||Robert Cowell||Martin Harley||20/1|
|2014||Sole Power||Eddie Lynam||Richard Hughes||5/1|
|2013||Sole Power||Eddie Lynam||Johnny Murtagh||8/1|
|2012||Little Bridge||Danny Shum||Zac Purton||12/1|
Age Is More Than Just A Number
In seventeen renewals of this race since 2000 no horse older than 7yo has won. Only two 3yos have triumphed in that time, indicating that the optimum age for horses in this contest is from 4yo to 7yo. That is bad news for supporters of the well fancied 3yo filly Lady Aurelia (7/2 fav), and the Wesley Ward trained horse looks up against it if the stats are to be believed.
There are a couple of popular old timers that a line must be put through too, including 2015 winner Goldream (16/1) and the horse that chased him home that day Medicean Man. David Griffiths’ stable star Take Cover is another casualty, and in total 5 of the remaining 21 horses are discounted. That still leaves us with 16 to choose from and we will whittle the field down even further below.
Last Time Out
The last 12 editions of The King’s Stand Stakes have been won by horses that have come into the race in tip top form. Only two winners since 2005 finished outside the top two in their previous outing and this is a stat it would be foolhardy to ignore. This enables us to narrow the field substantially and once again some big names fall by the wayside.
Washington DC (16/1) could only finish 6th last time out, and 25/1 shot Ornate is another one that finished well down the field on his last outing. Alpha Delphini (25/1) is also ruled out due to finishing outside the top 2 last time. In total, a line can be put through another 8 contenders and that leaves us with 8 horses still in with a chance.
Since 2005 only two favourites have obliged, but there hasn’t been many shocks either during that period. Only one horse bigger than 12/1 has scored in the past 12 renewals and that was Goldream at 20/1 a couple of years ago. The vast majority of winners have been priced up at between 5/1 and 7/1, but for the purposes of this article 16/1 will be used as the cut off point.
This means that outsiders Ardhoomey (25/1), Finsbury Square (50/1) and Final Venture (66/1) get the chop and that leaves us with a total of five speedsters to choose from. Current sprint specialist Clive Cox trains two of the remaining candidates, and to see if they make the final cut just read below.
The Final Cut
Two of the remaining five horses are fillies, and that doesn’t bode well for their chances. Miss Andretti (2007) is the only mare or filly to win this race since 2002 and no mare or filly has won since the race was upgraded to Group 1 status in 2008. For this reason both Marsha and Priceless are ruled out, leaving us with a terrific trio of sprinters to choose from.
Muthmir was third in this race as a 5yo back in 2015 behind Goldream and though he ran well on his last outing I can’t see him breaking his Group 1 hoodoo at the grand old age of 7. Signs Of Blessing was 2L too good for Profitable on very soft ground at Deauville last time, but conditions will be very different at Ascot if the weather forecast is to be believed. Signs Of Blessing needs a bit of cut to be seen at his best, whereas the Cox horse is more versatile. We think Profitable cam turn the tables on quicker ground and with that run behind him.
It was soft when Profitable won this race last season but he is not dependent on give underfoot. The 5yo son of Invincible Spirit ran a huge race in 4th on rattling quick ground in the Darley Cup behind Limato at Newmarket last season and 6f isn’t even his optimum trip. His maiden win came on good to firm and he is likely to have been trained to the minute for this contest. There are few better than Clive Cox at readying one and at odds of 16/1 Profitable could prove to be well named.
King’s Stand Prediction: 1. Profitable (16/1). 2. Signs Of Blessing (6/1). 3. Muthmir (14/1).