Cracksman Royal Ascot

Royal Ascot 2018: Spotlight On The Prince Of Wales's Stakes

Run over 1 mile and 2 furlongs, the Prince of Wales’s Stakes is the third middle-distance race in the QIPCO British Champions Series calendar, following the Investec Coronation Cup and Investec Derby. 

In 2000 the race was restricted to four-year-olds or older (prior to that, three-year-olds had been eligible to run) and upgraded to Group 1 status. In that very first running of the race as a top level contest, it was won by a true great, Dubai Millennium.

The French have an excellent recent record in the race, having tasted victory with Byword (2010), Vision D’Etat (2008) and Manduro (2007).

Famous winners of the race include greats such as Brigadier Gerard (1972), Mtoto (1987 and 1988), Bosra Sham (1997) and Dubai Millennium (2000), both by an impressive eight lengths, Fantastic Light (2001) and the mare Ouija Board (2006).

 

Trends And Statistics

  • Four winners have been sent off at odds of 8/1 or more in the last 20 runnings.
  • 21 favourites/ joint favourites have been successful in 50 runnings of the race.
  • Only two horses over 5 have ever won (Muhtarram 1995, So You Think 2012).
  • 15 of the winners since the race became a Group One had already won at the top level.
  • 19 of the last 20 winners had won over at least a mile and a quarter before.
  • Shortest-priced winner was Royal Palace at 1/4 (1968).
  • Aidan O’Brien has won three times, all in the last 10 years.

 

The Last Ten Winners

2017: Highland Reel (9/4)
2016: My Dream Boat (16/1)
2015: Free Eagle (5/2 fav)
2014: The Fugue (11/2)
2013: Al Kazeem (11/4)
2012: So You Think (4/5 fav)
2011: Rewilding (17/2)
2010: Byword (5/2 fav)
2009: Vision D’etat (4/1)
2008: Duke of Marmalade (Evs fav)

 

Runner-By-Runner Form Guide

Cliffs Of Moher

Aidan O'Brien sends out Cliffs Of Moher, who was last seen when second behind stablemate Lancaster Bomber in the Tattersalls Gold Cup last time out.

The four-year-old was just denied in last year’s Derby at Epsom, edging out Cracksman for second. Cliffs Of Moher then lost his way after finishing a badly hampered fourth in the Eclipse.

The Galileo colt appears to have regained his old enthusiasm this spring, capturing the Mooresbridge Stakes (G2) at Naas and then finishing runner-up to Lancaster Bomber.

 

Cracksman

Officially the highest-rated horse in Europe, the John Gosden-trained Cracksman is unbeaten in his last five starts, including victories in the Champion Stakes last October and the Prix Ganay on his seasonal bow.

He made hard work of winning the Coronation Cup at Epsom at the start of the month, apparently after banging his head when leaving the stalls, but he is undoubtedly the horse they all have to beat in this 10-furlong Group One.

Regarded by many punters as one of the “sure things” of the week, Cracksman could well have the bookmakers scurrying for cover on Wednesday afternoon.

 

Desert Encounter

David Simcock's Desert Encounter ran the race of his life to be third in the Eclipse last summer and he later added a Group Three at Newbury, taking the Dubai Duty Free Legacy Cup Stakes.

He was no match for Cracksman in the Champion Stakes at the end of last season, finishing halfway down the field and his trip to the Dubai Sheema Classic proved fruitless.

The six-year-old came third to another of today’s rivals, Poet’s Word in the Brigadier Gerard at Sandown on his latest outing, but he looks to have it all to do in this contest.

 

Eminent

Martyn Meade believes he has Eminent back to his best ahead of the Prince of Wales's Stakes.

Just like Cracksman, Eminent is also a son of Frankel and there is every chance he could run his half-brother close in this renewal.

A Group Two winner in France last year (Prix Guillaume d’Ornano), the four-year-old was expected to have few problems on his return to action at Chester in the Huxley Stakes but he trailed in last of the five runners.

However, he was found to be suffering from a fibrillating heart that day, and clearly had excuses for his poor showing.

Meade reports Eminent to have recovered well and he has been given the go ahead to race again on Wednesday.

 

Hawkbill

Hawkbill comes off a surprisingly bad fifth behind Cracksman in the Coronation Cup, where he was third last season.

After running out an impressive winner of the Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan in March, the son of Kitten's Joy was well beaten on his first start in Britain since July.

Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby now shortens him up to the 1 1/4-mile trip that produced his first major wins in the Tercentenary at Royal Ascot and the Eclipse in 2016.

Hawkbill has won half of his career races and earned his connections a cool £3.4 million in prize money and should not be lightly dismissed.

 

Poet’s Word

Champion Stakes runner-up Poet’s Word was no match for Cracksman on that occasion, but the seven-length margin may have been attributed to the soft ground and Sir Michael Stoute believes the five-year-old can make it closer in this rematch.

Poet’s Word was also second in the Irish Champion last autumn and was sixth from a poor stall position in the Hong Kong Cup. After coming second in Hawkbill’s wire-to-wire demolition job in the Dubai Sheema Classic, Poet’s Word showed his class in the Brigadier Gerard Stakes over this distance at Sandown.

Bookmakers rank Poet’s Word (4/1) as the biggest danger to Cracksman in the betting.

 

Royal Julius

The French trained five-year-old son of Royal Applause will be one of the outsiders in a competitive field.

He was the winner of the Group Two Premio Presidente della Repubblica in Italy last time out under today’s pilot, Gerald Mosse, who is no stranger to riding winners at Ascot.

Prior to that Italian victory, Royal Julius was second to Air Pilot in the Group Two Prix D'Harcourt Stakes at ParisLongchamp.

888sport suggests: Cracksman (win)

 

*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*