The Cork Stakes (Saturday 30 March @ 14:50) is Listed Race that is run over 5 furlongs and 164 yards at Navan Racecourse. Having been initially run in 2001 at Cork Racecourse, it was moved to Navan in 2018.
Downforce has won the race for the past two years and is set to try and make it a hat-trick of successes in 2019. Those successes came on heavy ground but conditions this year are forecast to be good with good-to-yielding in places.
Cork Stakes 10-Year-Trends
Winners have been aged four, five, six, or seven. Nine winners have carried 9-7 to victory with the other carrying 9-10.
Winners were rated between 91 and 111 and their SP’s have ranged from 5/2 to 12/1. The draw doesn’t appear to have had much impact, with winners coming from stalls as low as one and as high as 10.
Billy Lee has ridden four of the last six winners of this race.
Cork Stakes Summary
It’s asking a lot of the 11-year-old Gordon Lord Byron to win a competitive race like this at the age of 11, whilst Texas Rock is also older than ideal at the age of 8.
You also have to go back to 2004 to find the last winning three-year-old to win and that may not bode well for the chances of All The Kings Men, Swissterious, Angel Light, Burmese Waltz, and Fantasy. The high-class prospect Sergei Prokofiev is also three and, though Aidan O’Brien has yet to train a winner of this race, it’s hard to dismiss his chances.
Applying those statistics potentially reduces the field to just four horses, with the shortlist including Chessman, Urban Beat, Soffia, and Son Of Rest.
Chessman is rated just 95 and, whilst such low-rated horses have won the Cork Stakes, he’s rated 16lb below the top-rated horse. He’s also already failed at Listed Class on several occasions and, as he normally races over further, he’s likely to find himself outpaced in this contest.
Swissterious is another horse that’s rated 95 and his only win came in a class four race. He was also well beaten on his only previous run in a Listed Race. He’s made little impression in handicaps either and would be a shock winner.
Soffia is only rated 94 but she does have the potential to improve as a sprinter having won four of her nine races. However, the last of those wins was off a mark of 87 when she just pipped Smash Williams in receipt of 24lb. She has since finished behind that horse and Medicine Jack over course and distance and isn’t much better off at the weights today.
Son Of Rest is much more interesting, as this 111-rated horse gets weight from many of his closest rivals on ratings. However, his form at this level is not that impressive and he had to drop to a mark of 101 to win last year’s Ayr Gold Cup.
Cork Stakes 2019 Verdict
If you want to stick to the statistics, Son Of Rest looks the most obvious winner as he’s the top-rated of the older horses and gets weight form the likes of last year’s winner Downforce. However, he’s not got a convincing profile at this level.
That’s why it could be worth going against the stats on this occasion and taking a chance on the top-class sprinting prospect Sergei Prokofiev. He gets seven to 10lbs from the older horses and, having already won a Group 3, he could prove a class above today’s opposition on decent ground.