The Princess of Wales Stakes (Newmarket 3.15, Thursday) is a Group-2 race run over 12-furlongs on the first day of Newmarket’s July Meeting.
Sir Michael Stoute has trained the winner an amazing 9 times, and he teamed-up with jockey Ryan Moore to win 4 renewals between 2007 and 2012. Meanwhile, 7 of the last 9 winners have been 4-year-olds, with the other two being aged 6 and 8.
7 runners are set to go to post for the 2016 Princess Of Wales Stakes.
This 4-year-old is trained by Michael Stoute and ridden by Ryan Moore, and he looks a perfect fit for the race statistics highlighted above. He also beat last year’s winner Big Orange earlier in the year by 9-lengths, but will have to return to that sort of form after proving a big disappointment at Royal Ascot.
Won some big handicaps, but has plenty to find on ratings, and flopped in a Group-3 race at Meydan the last time he was seen.
Surprised many when winning last year’s renewal, as many though he was more of a stayer. However, he’s 3lb worse off for the half-a-length he beat Second Step last year, and has 9-lengths to find with Exosphere if that form can be believed.
This lightly-raced imposing 5-year-old could still have room for improvement, but is rated 13lb below the highest-rated. Not impossible he’ll find more returned to good-to-firm ground, but that still may not be good enough.
Already a Group-2 winner, the fact he doesn’t have to carry a penalty this year is very much in his favour. There shouldn’t be much between him and Big Orange this year, but one or two of the others may improve past him.
The Grey Gatsby
The top-rated horse in the field, and it’s easy to see why. In 2014 he won the Dante, French Derby and the Irish Champion Stakes and, on the only two occasions he got his preferred good-to-firm ground last season, he posted two excellent seconds behind Free Eagle and Golden Horn. However, his stamina is unproven, though there’s more chance that he’ll stay the trip now he’s a year older. Jamie Spencer also deserts Big Orange for him.
Gets plenty of weight as the only 3-year-old in the field, but is bidding to become the first of the classic generation to win this since 2006. Also not proven at the trip, but was staying on in the Dante over 10-furlongs, though that looked a weak renewal of the race.
The Princess of Wales Stakes Summary
Last year’s first and second Big Orange and Second Step look sure to finish close together once more, whilst Exosphere fits all the major statistics and his trainer Michael Stoute loves to train the winner of this race. However, preference is for the un-penalised The Grey Gatsby who has the best form in the book.