The Group 3 Henry II Stakes (Thursday 23 May, 7.05) is run at Sandown Racecourse over a distance of 2 miles and 50 yards. It was established in 1963 and has been won by some of the most popular stayers of all time such as Ardross, Drum Taps, Double Trigger, Persian Punch, and Big Orange.
Check out our trends, runner-by-runner guide, and free tip for the 2019 Henry II Stakes.
Henry II Stakes 10-Year-Trends
The Henry II Stakes is open to horses aged four and older, and three of the last 10 winners have been four-year-olds. However, six-year-olds have the best record with four winners, whilst horses aged seven, eight, and nine have also been successful.
Nine of the last 10 winners have been towards the head of the market and have been returned at odds of 11/2 or less. The other was returned at 20/1.
Eight winners had already run at least once in the season of their victory in the race, with those runs coming 13-51 days earlier. However, only three winners had won their previous race.
Weights carried by the winners have ranged from 8-11 to 9-6, with only three of the ten winners carrying a penalty to success.
Henry II Stakes Runner-By-Runner Guide 2019
Dee Ex Bee
High-class three-year-old that ran respectably in a variety of group races last season including when second in The Derby and when fourth in the St Leger. Most of his runs at three suggested he would be suited by stepping up in trip to distances of two miles and beyond and he proved that by winning a group 3 on his seasonal debut at Ascot.
He was a huge gamble that day too, and was backed in from an early price of 7/2 to 11/8. The form was not overly strong though with the third (who was conceding 5lb) beaten further by Crystal Ocean when conceding less weight to that rival since. Dee Ex Bee must also concede 2lb or 3lb to his main rivals here.
Five-year-old who has run twelve times over hurdles and on the all-weather since September, but none of those runs suggest he’s up to winning this. Connections are just probably having a nice day out at a prestigious meeting and will be happy to pick up any sort of prize money.
Sluiced up in last year’s Chester Cup off a high-rating and followed that win with another impressive victory in last year’s edition of this race. He was put away for a trip to the Melbourne Cup after that but that proved a wasted journey.
He was also a big drifter in the betting before this year’s seasonal reappearance at Chester, where he ran very creditably to be third on softer ground than he likes and over a trip that didn’t bring his stamina into play.
He was beaten just half a length by Kew Gardens there and that horse finished over eight lengths in front of Dee Ex bee when winning the St Leger. He’s also officially the highest rated horse in the field by 2lb, yet carries 2lb less than Dee Ex Bee.
Punted as though defeat was out of the question in this year’s Chester Cup, which was a little surprising considering he wasn’t proven on the soft conditions that prevailed that day and he was carrying a lot more weight than most recent winners. That does suggest his trainer Mark Johnston (who also trains Dee Ex Bee) thinks he’s an improving type, however, he was beaten by Mekong last year and is also held by a couple of the other runners on a form-line involving Raymond Tusk.
A third runner for the Mark Johnston stable and this four-year-old showed his rivals a clean pair of heels in this year’s Chester Cup. But he definitely benefited from racing prominently that day, as the horses and jockey in behind him got covered in mud, and he may be flattered by that form having shown little other form that suggests he’ll win this group 3.
Four-year-old who is making his seasonal debut here after winning three times last year. However, despite finishing in front of Austrian School on one occasion, two of his wins came on heavy ground and the other on the all-weather. There is a chance that he will be a typical Sir Michael Stoute-trained improver but he’s yet to prove he stays this trip, even though his run-style suggests he will.
Henry II Stakes Verdict 2019
The 2019 Henry II Stakes is a fascinating contest, and Weatherby’s will be hoping that at least one runner steps forward as a challenger to Stradivarius in that horse’s bid to win their £1 Million bonus for the second successive year.
Fearsome shouldn’t be winning, and the gut feeling is that Making Miracles and Austrian School will also need the market leaders to underperform. That may not be the case with Mekong, who could improve for today’s trip after a break, but most winners of this race have enjoyed a prep race.
That leaves us with Dee Ex Bee and Magic Circle. Victory for Dee Ex Bee certainly wouldn’t be a shock, but there are a trio of reasons to think that Magic Circle is the value bet. The first of those is he finished closer to Kew Gardens on his seasonal debut than Dee Ex Bee did in last year’s St Leger. The second is he’s rated 2lb superior but receives 2lb from his rival here. The third is he won last year’s contest on good ground, meaning he’s proven at Sandown, a course not all horses take to.