With Royal Ascot just two weeks away, it’s time to take an ante-post look at one of the most thrilling races of the whole week – Tuesday’s 5-furlong King’s Stand Stakes.
The race actually came about because of freak weather in 1860, when a two-mile race was reduced to just 5-furlongs because that was the only raceable part of the track. Everyone enjoyed it that much that they decided to keep it, however, it wasn’t until 1973 that the race earned its Group 1 Status, and it is now one of the legs of the Global Sprint Challenge.
It’s a race in which foreign challengers have fared particularly well in recent years, winning 8 of the last 12 renewals. However, English trainer Robert Cowell has won 2 of the last 6 renewals.
Lady Aurelia 4/1
Breathtaking when winning last season’s Queen Mary at Royal Ascot by 7-lengths, but that form hasn’t been boosted since. However, she won a $100,000 on her seasonal debut in America, and could yet be a sprinting superstar.
Improved rapidly last season, culminating in victory in the L’Abbaye. Looked to have taken another giant step forward when conceding race fitness and a Group 1 penalty in winning a Group 3 on her reappearance.
Looked more like a three-year-old when winning the 2015 Queen Mary, but couldn’t hold Meccas Angel in the Nunthorpe when receiving 24lb. Only ran 3 times since, but entitled to have come on for her comeback run. However, she received 10lb from the runner-up there, suggesting she’ll have to improve gain.
Signs Of A Blessing 8/1
French sprinter who would definitely come into the equation if the ground was very soft, as it was when he beat Profitable 2-lengths on his seasonal debut. Only fourth in last season’s Commonwealth Cup though, and may fall short if the ground is on the quick side.
Aidan O’Brien has stated that this 3-year-old is the quickest horse he’s trained since the likes of Mozart and Stravinsky but, whilst he could easily win this, the 3-year-old only Commonwealth Cup could also be a target.
Won this race last year after victories in the Palace House Stakes and the Temple Stakes, but this year’s renewal could be a lot stronger. Each-way possibilities still.
Took another big step forward when winning this season’s Temple Stakes, and capable of taking another step forward to take a hand here. Seems to handle most types of ground.
The 2015 winner was below par last season, but has bounced back with placed efforts in two Group-3s this season. Has something to find with Marsha and Priceless on that form, but could be a danger to all on fast ground.
Washington DC 20/1
Won at Royal Ascot in 2015, then was a very creditable second to Quiet Reflection in last season’s Commonwealth Cup. Bit to find with Marsha and Priceless on last two runs, but could improve back at Royal Ascot over 5-furlongs, especially if the ground is fast.
King’s Stand Stakes Summary
Marsha will look an each-way bet to nothing at 5/1 come the day, but her price probably won’t contract much beforehand. However, one horse I can see being punted if the ground looks like coming up fast (long-range weather forecast very dry in the week prior to Royal Ascot) is Washington Dc. First and second at the last two Royal Ascot Meetings, his sire Zoffany ran his best race here too when giving the mighty Frankel a scare, and he looks an each-way value bet at 20/1.
Washington DC 1 – Point Each-way @ 20/1 (Bet365)