Balios To Be Knighted At King Edward Stakes
King Edward VII Stakes
Often an event to attract those that ran in the Derby, Friday’s Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes (3.05) has a different look to it this time around, with a number of improvers who actually avoided Epsom.
Will Stravagante prove Group class?
One of those is Sir Michael Stoute’s, Stravagante, a 12l third to Derby runner-up, Jack Hobbs, in a Sandown handicap, before going on to win a valuable handicap of his own at Epsom (1m2f, good). It was a victory that put an end to his handicap days, as he oozed of Group class, and Friday’s opportunity will show us how good he is.
There is the matter of the 1m4f trip, though the manner in which he powered up the Epsom hill gave the impression it wouldn’t stop him. Stravagante’s official rating of 100 also fits nicely into the band of past King Edward winners…
Of the last 10 King Edward winners…
10 returned 12/1 or shorter
10 were officially rated 92 to 109
9 stepped up in class from last time
9 had never run at Ascot
7 were British-bred
J Gosden won it three times, M Johnston & Sir M Stoute twice
Gosden For Edward Victory No.4?
While Stoute won this twice before, John Gosden actually trained three winners, which points up the chances of his colt, Mr Singh. Winner of his maiden at Newbury (1m3f, good to firm), the colt flopped in a Derby trial at Goodwood, albeit beaten only 3l, and may do better on a more conventional track like Ascot.
Aidan O’Brien also knows what it takes to win this race, and his Father Christmas could be popular despite winning only a minor event on his third outing at Roscommon a few weeks ago (1m2f, good). Stablemate, Ol’ Man River, meanwhile, has bit more to prove in terms of recent form.
Elsewhere, Godolphin have Festive Fare, who was beaten just over 2l by the subsequent Derby winner, Golden Horn, in a Listed event at Newmarket in April (1m1f, good to firm). He clearly has more to come, but an absence since that run is a slight concern.
Balios Smacks Of Value
Another with more to come is David Simcock’s, Balios, who ran very well on just his second career outing (and first run of the season) when a 1/2l runner-up in Listed company at Newmarket last month (1m2f, good to firm).
As a half-brother to a 1m4f winner, Balios could be the surprise package.
A word also has to go to Ralph Beckett’s, Magic Dancer, who was beaten just over 1l by Kilimanjaro in a Listed Derby trial at Lingfield last month (1m3.5f, good) and could make the frame at big odds.
Quite an open renewal, and one in which Balios could represent value for David Simcock. His second career outing offered plenty of encouragement when shaping as though this 1m4f trip would suit.