By Dave Stevos
The King’s Stand Stakes is a thrilling spectacle of a race and 21 are due to take their chances in a typically competitive renewal at 3.40 on Tuesday. Some of the fastest horses on the planet will be heading to Ascot for this valuable 5f Group 1 and, with the ground looking like it will be on the easy side, it might pay to back a horse that is proven on soft. Robert Cowell and Eddie Lynam have been the trainers to follow in recent seasons, providing four of the last five winners.
Goldream took it at odds of 20/1 for Cowell last season, scuppering Sole Power’s bid to complete a hat-trick. They will renew acquaintances again this year but the ground will likely be too slow for both of them. In fact, the ground will be a hindrance to a lot of the contenders in this race, and any further rain could result in a few non-runners.
The obvious starting point is Mecca’s Angel, a magnificent mare that gets a handy allowance from her male rivals. This 5yo daughter of Dark Angel has been the flagbearer for Michael Dods and it would be great to see her land her second Grade 1 at Ascot. She is a warm order at just 5/2 with Bet365 and, while she looks the most likely winner, there may be a bit of each way value to be found elsewhere. Acapulco has been declared and with her extra 3yo weight allowance she gets to carry just 8st 8lbs. She is another that would have preferred quicker ground though, and she was no match for Mecca’s Angel when they clashed on good to soft at York last season.
The one I like at a huge price is Pearl Secret for David Barron and Qatar Racing. This 7yo son of Compton Place has been a grand horse for connections and he has run well in some top class races without getting his head in front at the highest level. He is at his best with an ease in the ground and he ran a cracker on his seasonal comeback at Haydock behind Profitable (5f gd/sft). He won second time up last year in a Group 2 at Haydock, his first win at group level, and he followed that with a string of superb efforts in Group 1 company.
He was beaten just a length in this race last year on ground plenty quick enough for him and this year the weather has turned in his favour for his repeat bid. He was also drawn out in the car park in stall 17 last year and he is in stall 13 this time. He was third in 2013, tenth in 2014 and fourth last year. He has been likely trained to the minute for this race and for the first time the ground will be in his favour. The Barron yard is in decent form and in my opinion he looks massively overpriced at odds of 25/1 with Boylesports. With trip, track and ground all to suit he is a confident each way suggestion in what should be a thrilling race.
Stevos’ Selection: Pearl Secret (e/w) @ 25/1 Boylesports